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Fox Searchlight Pictures

AFI Cancels 'Birth Of A Nation' Screening Amid Nate parker Rape Scandal

The American Film Institute cancels exclusive screening and cast Q&A amid, Nate Parker's 17-year-old rape case. 

The American Film Institute has decided to cancel its screening of The Birth of a Nation, only one week after Nate Parker publicly addressed his 1999 rape allegations at various Hollywood press events.

The AFI screening, that was originally set for Friday (Aug. 26), would have been Parker's first public appearance since the scandal was revived in the media. "I have been the recipient of many different passionate points of view about the screening, and I believe it is essential that we discuss these issues together — messenger and message, gender, race and more — before we see the film,” AFI dean, Jan Schuette said. "Next week, we will be scheduling a special moderated discussion so we may explore these issues together as artists and audience."

Despite the new headlines, Parker's 17-year-old rape case, which is also public knowledge on his Wikipedia page, has been no secret. In 1999, while attending Penn State University, Parker and his friend, Jean Celestin (who is also credited as a co- writer in the Nat Turner biopic), were charged with raping an 18-year-old woman, who claimed that she was unconscious at the time of the attack. Both men maintained that the sex was consensual. Parker was acquitted of all charges, while Celestin was found guilty of sexual assault. Celestin appealed the verdict, and it was later thrown out in 2005 after the witness failed to testify.

Following new questions regarding his past, news broke that his accuser had committed suicide in 2012. Parker shared a statement on Facebook, expressing his "devastation" about the matter. "Over the last several days, a part of my past -- my arrest, trial and acquittal on charges of sexual assault -- has become a focal point for media coverage, social media speculation and industry conversation," Parker said. "I cannot- nor do I want to ignore the pain she endured during and following our trial. While I maintain my innocence that the encounter was unambiguously consensual, there are things more important than the law. There is morality; no one who calls himself a man of faith should even be in that situation. As a 36-year-old father of daughters and person of faith, I look back on that time as a teenager and can say without hesitation that I should have used more wisdom."

In addition to the screening cancellation, Parker's rape case may create some problems for the film as it makes a run for an Oscar nomination. Nevertheless, Fox will continue to hold a different screening of the feature film later this year as planned. Furthermore, the studio has confirmed that the film's theatrical release and publicity tour will happen beginning Oct. 7, despite the negative headlines involving its leading star and director.

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Stream: Hulu's 'FYRE Fraud' Doc Examines The Festival That Scammed Thousands

In 2017, rumors of an exclusive festival taking place in the Bahamas took over social media. Organized by Billy McFarland and promoted by Ja Rule, the FYRE Festival was the new, cool kid on the festival block and quickly put other more seasoned festivals to shame.

But all that glitters isn't gold.

FYRE FRAUD, the new documentary streaming on Hulu, takes an intimate look at the scam that left thousands stranded on the island. Directed by Jenner Furst and Julia Willoughby, the dark-comedy interviews whistleblowers, victims, and the convicted con-man himself, McFarland.

In a press release, Fraust and Wiloughby said the goal isn't to make light of those who were scammed.

"Our aim was to set the stage for a strange journey into the moral abyss of our digital age, going beyond the meme to show an ecosystem of enablers, driven by profit and willing to look the other way, for their own gain.

"We draw on countless cultural references, on true crime tension, and on humor - but we did not intend to create a toothless comedy about the Fyre Festival. We hope this film can pierce our collective apathy and disrupt our own millennial peers, if only for an instant - to look at these stories for what they truly are, and to halt this algorithm before it devours us whole."

FYRE FRAUD is now streaming on Hulu.

 

 

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Al Bello

Dave Chappelle Isn't Sure His R. Kelly 'Chappelle Show' Skits Were Insensitive

The Surviving R. Kelly series may be over, but the fallout from it has seemingly just begun.

Director dream hampton took to Twitter during the airing of the Lifetime documentary and spoke honestly about the several celebrity men she contacted in hopes they'd speak on camera about R. Kelly and the years of sexual allegations that have shadowed him. Among them was Dave Chappelle.

The beloved comic famously made a music video entitled "Piss On You" mocking the real-life video of R. Kelly urinating on an underage girl. During the Chappelle Show heyday, he used R.Kelly's legal woes as material for years.

TMZ caught with Chappelle in West Hollywood and asked him if he regretted not being featured in hampton's series and instead he dodged the question.

"Jesus Christ, I just had dinner," Chappelle said in between taking a drag of his cigarette. "I just ate. Strop bringing that motherf**ker up."

When pressed about whether or not he thinks his old skits were insensitive, the 45-year-old said "I don't know. I'd have to watch it again."

D.L. Hughley joined Chappelle for dinner and commented on R.Kelly and the forthcoming Michael Jackson documentary, Leaving Neverland, which outlines sexual assault allegations against the late singer.

"If you can be mad at R. Kelly, you should be mad at Michael Jackson," Hughley said.

 

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Andre 3000 Stars In New Space Thriller 'High Life'

A new space thriller is coming to theaters this year. Andre 3000 will star in the new film alongside Twilight's Robert Pattinson in High Life, and the first trailer looks pretty intense.

The feature focuses on a group of criminals who are coerced into a mission to travel towards a black hole to find an alternate energy source. They are also forced to undergo sexual experiments while in outer space. The 2-minute preview features Pattinson and Andre 3000 as they struggle to survive on the spaceship.

High Life originally premiered at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival in Sept. 2018. It received positive reviews from numerous film critics.

"High Life is as visually arresting as it is challenging, confounding, and ultimately rewarding - which is to say it's everything film fans expect from director Claire Denis," Rotten Tomatoes said of the film.

The film is written and directed by Claire Denis. High Life will hit theaters on Apr. 12. Watch the new trailer in the video above.

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