Birth of a Nation, Nate Parker's biopic of slave revolutionary Nat Turner, has drawn more controversy than any film in recent memory.
While many called for a boycott of the film given Parker's past allegations of sexual assault, others insist that the resurfacing of his past is part of a mainstream conspiracy to kill the box office and Oscar chances for an unapologetically pro-Black film.
Well, those who believe in the conspiracy might have just gotten their most compelling evidence yet.
Last week, a Delaware resident named Devon Walls filmed himself confronting a ticket seller at Regal Cinemas who told him Birth of a Nation was sold out, instead encouraging Walls and other patrons to see the Ben Affleck film The Accountant. Walls told the ticket seller that, after he bought a ticket for The Accountant, he peeked inside the theater playing Birth of a Nation, and only four seats were filled. He demanded an explanation, but only got a flimsy "that's what the screen told me."
Since Walls' video went viral, Twitter has been expressing outrage and accusing Regal Cinemas of sabotaging the film in an effort to drive Black films out of the box office:
Go see 👀 "Birth of a Nation" 🎥It's Black-owned and they are deliberately trying to sabotage it. They're lying if they say it's sold-out.— infinite starr ✴ aka (@MonroeKush) October 27, 2016
Wow. People want this movie to fail so bad they'll sabotage it.. go see birth of a nation man. https://t.co/LYTIDG7Cii— Bïg_ !Ξvv (@Big_Evv) October 28, 2016
Here are some other ways movie theaters are actually sabotaging the success of the Birth of a Nation movie pic.twitter.com/tKizJSVAV4— Tariq Nasheed (@tariqnasheed) October 26, 2016
and we wonder why birth of a nation didn't do well‼️SMH Part.1 pic.twitter.com/y944EbHdAD— Queen Rasta (@FemaleMigo) October 29, 2016
A rep for Regal Cinemas issued a statement to TMZ that doesn't seem to help its case. The theater chain denies it was racism, and confusingly said the theater was "adjusting films and auditoriums to meet consumer demand." The theater manager said he did tell Walls they'd added a showing of 'Birth' at the last minute to handle demand, and that's the theater he saw nearly empty.
Walls says he was never told about that added screening.
Watch how Nate Parker reacted to the backlash from his film, and sexual assault controversy, with BET Breaks above.
(Photo: Jahi Chikwendiu. A © 2016 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation)