Rape Survivor Sheryl Underwood Defends ‘Birth Of A Nation’ Director Nate Parker

“The Talk” host Sheryl Underwood is coming to the defense of actor-director Nate Parker.

“The Birth Of A Nation” filmmaker who was acquitted of sexual assault, has been facing critics for his involvement in the 2009 incident and eventual suicide of his alleged victim. Now, he’s counting Underwood as one of his outspoken supporters. Underwood, who has been outspoken about her own past as a rape survivor, addressed the controversy surrounding Parker during a taping of “The Talk”.

“I think this is an odd time for this to be the time that they judge this man on this,” she says. “He made a movie, ‘Beyond the Lights’, where he was some cop protecting some pop singer, and this never was brought out. And now it’s being brought out when he makes the most iconic film, the most thought-provoking film for some of us that believe that Nat Turner was a revolutionary.”

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In “The Birth Of A Nation”, Parker stars at Nat Turner, the leader of an 1831 slave rebellion in the United States. The film follows the journey of Turner from slave to preacher to leader of an unprecedented uprising.

Underwood brought up the conversation about separating filmmakers from their works, referencing accused sexual abusers Woody Allen and Roman Polanski.

“I also think when you talk about this, why is it that Roman Polanski can do whatever he wants to do and that was a 13-year-old child? Woody Allen? But I guess my feeling about this is, from a person who has been raped, one thing we need to take a moment to understand is the long-lasting devastating effect of rape on everyone involved,” Underwood says.

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“The young lady who could not move forward in her life that felt the only way to end that pain was to take her life. So when you talk about a movie that seems to artistically portray the violation of people who were considered property, then you’re talking about a political devastation, not just a sexual devastation that was supposed to motivate Nat Turner to do what he did. So for everybody in this room who does not understand, at the end of the day, his life has been changed, but he has evolved. He’s given his life to Christ. He’s become a better person. If you want to hold him to that, then you need to hold everybody else that’s done something [similar] to the exact same standard.”




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