>> The American Film Institute cancelling its Friday screening of Birth of a Nation over concerns surrounding filmmaker Nate Parker and his involvement in a 1999 rape case. Parker was also supposed to speak at the AFI event, in what would have been his first appearance since the controversy resurfaced earlier this month.
Spurring calls to boycott the movie and causing an uproar on social media. Reuters correspondent Jill Serjeant.>> The film does seem to be dividing opinion. On the one hand, there are women who have been very disturbed by the details of the case that have come out. And are finding it hard to distinguish the film from the person who made it.
On the other hand, there are sections of the black community who feel that the bringing up of the, and the attention that is now being paid to this case is going to result in the film being buried. Which they would see as typical of the ways in which the voice of African Americans is silenced.
>> In 1999, Parker and his friend Jean Celestin, who's credited as a writer on Birth of a Nation, were charged with raping an 18-year-old fellow student at Penn State University. Parker was acquitted of the rape charges in 2001. But just last week, Variety reported that the unidentified victim killed herself four years ago after swallowing nearly 200 sleeping pills.
In a Facebook post Parker said he was quote, devastated by the news of her death, while maintaining his innocence. Even as Parker has faced intense backlash, some say the controversy highlights the double standards in Hollywood. Where Woody Allen and Roman Polanski, white filmmakers with checkered pasts, have gone on to win major awards.
>> Given the #OscarsSoWhite controversy in Hollywood over the last couple of years, where so few actors of color have been nominated for the highest awards. This really was seen as the movie that was going to set things right and tell a very important tale. And therefore, the black community is as divided as the community at large, I think, on how to proceed.
>> Submit yourselves.>> Fox Searchlight, which bought the slave drama from Parker for $17.5 million, plans to stick with the scheduled release for October 7th. Toronto Film Festival organizers also standing behind the movie, saying they have quote, every intention of screening it next month.>> I asked you a question.