How do you market your Oscar hopeful when the man who wrote, directed, and starred in it has a rape accusation in his past? If this tweet from Fox Searchlight, which paid a record $17.5 million for The Birth of a Nation at Sundance, is any indication, the answer is simple: with memes.
Parker, who wrote, directed, and stars in awards-season contender The Birth of a Nation, was accused of raping a classmate 17 years ago while at Penn State. Though he was acquitted of the charges shortly after, Parker’s then-roommate and Birth of a Nation co-writer Jean Celestin was convicted of sexual assault for the incident, though his conviction was later overturned and a retrial never happened. Despite the fact that both Parker and Celestin’s records are technically clean, their involvement in the incident has threatened to derail the movie’s press tour and Oscar campaign.