Things aren’t looking good for Nate Parker, and his much buzzed-about film The Birth of a Nation. Since opening up about being charged, and later found not guilty, of raping a woman 17 years ago, more details about the case, including news that the accuser committed suicide, have come out.
Tuesday evening, Variety released a story that the accuser had overdosed on sleeping pills in 2012 while undergoing treatment at a rehabilitation center. According to the magazine, who spoke with the accuser’s older brother, the trial took a major toll on her, and she had attempted suicide on two other occasions.
“She became detached from reality,” the woman’s brother, Johnny, told Variety, asking not to use his last name to honor his sister’s wishes to remain anonymous. “The progression was very quick and she took her life.”
Following the tragic news, Parker took to his Facebook page to express his shock and sadness. According to the 36-year-old actor, he did not know she had taken her life.
Parker sat down with Variety and Deadline last week in an effort to get in front of what is seemingly turning into a damning blow to his film The Birth of a Nation. According to Deadline, Fox Searchlight, which picked up the film for $17.5 million, stands behind Parker, and has been working closely with him on a media strategy.
Back in 1999, Parker and his roommate Jean McGianni Celestin (who co-wrote The Birth of a Nation with him) were charged with raping an 18-year-old female in their apartment after a night of drinking while attending Penn State University. Parker maintained that the sex was consensual, and in 2001, he was eventually acquitted. Meanwhile, Celestin was initially found guilty of sexual assault, but then the conviction was overturned after an appeal.
Exclusive: The Bullet Scars That Will Forever Haunt Sheryl Lee Ralph’s Son, Etienne Maurice
Sheryl Lee Ralph shared a graphic photo on Instagram earlier this week of her son, Etienne Maurice, laying in a hospital bed bandaged up from bullet wounds. The purpose of the image was to be yet another voice calling to end gun violence.
On Wednesday, students across the country walked out of class to protest against gun violence, something that hit home for Ralph four years ago. “This mother wants #gunreform now! #guncontrol now,” she wrote.
It was during a night out in West Philadelphia that Ralph’s then 22-year-old child was robbed at gunpoint and shot three times; twice in the leg and one which grazed his forehead.
So as Ralph joined Wednesday’s national conversation about gun laws, HipHollywood talked exclusively with Etienne who shared exactly what went down the night a gun could have taken his life for good.
“I was shot four years ago, November 9 … I was black out drunk. The next thing I know I remember I woke up in the hospital, doctor said I had two bullet holes in my leg and a grazed bullet hole above my eyebrow.”
Maurice, who was robbed for his iPhone and his wallet, went on to tell us that this is something that he is reminded of constantly. “Having been shot is something that I carry with me every day. I still have numbness at the bottom of my leg from the nerve damage.”
And while he will always remember how he felt knowing his life almost ended, Etienne had a hard time fathoming how his famous mother felt. “We had the conversation about it last week and she said she peed on herself,” he told us.
For Maurice, he’s proud to see young children use their voices to make change. “There’s so many angles where we can talk about gun violence and how it’s effecting different communities,” he said. “Gun reform needs to take place now.”
Since that night, he hasn’t picked up a drink and has been now sober for four years. As for the suspects, a father-son duo, they are behind bars for attempted man slaughter.
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