Rape Activist Group Plans Candlelight Vigil at Hollywood 'Birth of a Nation' Screening

Courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures
'The Birth of a Nation'

A silent sit-in will take place Thursday during a 7 p.m. showing of the historical biopic at ArcLight Cinemas in Hollywood.

A candlelight silent sit-in is planned for a Thursday night screening of Nate Parker's The Birth of a Nation.

The protest will be put on by the group F**k Rape Culture — made up of artists, filmmakers and women in Hollywood — and will take place at ArcLight Cinemas' Hollywood location at a 7 p.m. showing of the historical biopic.

Birth of a Nation has been surrounded by controversy following the reemergence of Parker's 1999 rape trial from when he was a 19 year-old student athlete at Pennsylvania State University. Parker was ultimately acquitted. It was later reported that his accuser committed suicided in 2012.  

On the Facebook events page for the silent protest, there is an invitation for "Los Angeles women, gender non conforming, LGBTQ people and their allies" to join in the vigil.

A statement from the group reads: "We recognize the need to hold space for those celebrating the advancement of people of color in Hollywood while continuing to fight for the victims of sexual assault and rape around the world."

The Women's Law Project, who represented Parker's accuser in her complaint against how the university handled her harassment after the trial, said that they would not support a boycott of Parker's movie.

"While we have compassion for sexual-assault survivors and advocates who choose to not see the film, we do not personally support a boycott of Birth of a Nation," said Carol E. Tracy, executive director of the Women's Law Project.

In the run-up to the film's release, Parker has done several interviews, including a sit-down on 60 Minutes and an appearance on Steve Harvey.

During his interview with Harvey, the writer-director-star said, "It was devastating to hear that I, at any point, had a connection with someone that felt like it was time for them to take their own life." Parker went on to criticize the media for the coverage of the trial, asking, "Are we in the business of headlines or are we in the business of healing?"  

The Birth of a Nation opens in theaters nationwide this weekend.

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