Thursday, August 25, 2016

Al Sharpton Supports Nate Parker Amid Rape Trial Controversy

By EW, Aug 23, 2016 

Rev. Al Sharpton has voiced his support for actor and director Nate Parker after new details of a 17-year-old rape case against the filmmaker resurfaced this month, sparking major controversy ahead of the release of Parker’s The Birth of a Nation.

Parker and Birth of a Nation co-writer Jean Celestin were accused of sexually assaulting a woman at Penn State University in 1999. Parker was charged, though he was later acquitted in a 2001 trial; a jury found Celestin guilty of sexual assault and he was sentenced to six months in prison. (The conviction was later overturned.) It was later revealed by the alleged victim’s brother that she died by suicide in 2012. Speaking to The Root, Sharpton revealed he’d personally conversed with Parker, who maintains his innocence. Sharpton said he believes the court’s decision concerning the sexual assault charges brought against the 36-year-old should be the defining outcome of Parker’s involvement in the case.

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