Courtesy of the Sundance Film Festival
Courtesy of the Sundance Film Festival

This past January, Nate Parker’s powerful biopic The Birth of a Nation rocked the Sundance Film Festival, where it earned the fest’s top prize and glowing reviews, set a sales record, and was touted as a potential Oscar contender come 2017. But last week, the film’s full-speed momentum towards awards season—which Fox Searchlight gambled on by forking over a record-breaking $17.5 million for the historic epic—hit a P.R. hiccup when the film’s writer, director, and star discussed the rape charges of which he was acquitted in 2001.

In an interview with Deadline last week, Parker apparently attempted to preempt any awards-season controversy by openly discussing the charges. 

In an e-mail to Deadline, Celestin, who has a story credit on the film, said of the charges, “This was something that I experienced as a college student 17 years ago and was fully exonerated of. I have since moved on and been focusing on my family and writing career.”

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