Though rape allegations against actor and director Nate Parker have been on the public record for years, they have newly resurfaced as his film The Birth of a Nation heads toward its release and builds Oscar buzz. Amid the controversy, some have questioned whether to see The Birth of a Nation at all. When approached by TMZ at an airport, Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs insisted that it is important for people to judge the film for themselves. “With the issue of the movie, the important thing is for people to see it, and enjoy the film, be impressed by the film,” Isaacs said. “I think that is what is very important. People need to see this movie.” During her tenure as Academy president, Isaacs has made a significant push for greater diversity within the Academy in response to years of predominantly white Oscar nominees. Talking to TMZ, she referred to the rape allegations against Parker as “one issue, that’s his personal issue,” and said it is important to discuss the film as a whole, though she herself has not seen it. “I know just by the conversation that has gone on since Sundance that it’s clearly a movie that filmgoers should go and see,” Isaacs said. “My belief is that people need to see the movie and judge the movie.”
Cheryl Boone Isaacs.