Penn State Alumni Write an Open Letter About Nate Parker's Rape Trial

PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 15: Actor Nate Parker looks on at the 'Double Victory' screening at the National Constitution Center on November 15, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jeff Fusco/Getty Images)

Penn State Alumni Write an Open Letter About Nate Parker's Rape Trial

Plus, a major Hollywood institution cancels screening of 'Birth of a Nation.'

Published August 25, 2016

With details of the past rape allegations involving Nate Parker recently resurfacing, a few people have come forward sharing their stance on the situation. Most recently, four individuals who were enrolled at Penn State University at the time of the accusations have penned an open letter both expressing sympathy for the now deceased accuser and standing firm in their belief that Parker is innocent.

In the letter, issued exclusively to The Root, Penn State alums LaKeisha Wolf, Assata Richards, Lurie Daniel Favors and Brian Favors all came to the defense of Parker and his former roommate Jean McGianni Celestin, highlighting 10 points that they say were missing from the conversation surrounding the scandal.

"We are both dismayed and disappointed at the gross and blatant misinformation campaign regarding the events that took place during that time persiod," the letter reads. "We feel compelled to speak truth to this situation as the media has cherry-picked the most salacious elements while ignoring the actual record."

All four alumni say they were students, staff and alumni during the time of the trial and firmly stated their stance on the allegations, saying, "We believe some 17 years ago that Jean Celestin and Nate Parker were innocent of rape and we believe that now."

They continued that while they were" deeply disappointed" in Parker and Celestin's choices during that time, they do not believe they were oblivious to what was going on at the time of the trial and weren't "able to defend themselves.'

"Neither Mr. Parker nor Mr. Celestin were named in the civil lawsuit, neither Mr. Parker nor Mr. Celestin were ever interviewed or contacted about the civil suit — nor were they able to defend themselves in that suit and were not aware of its existence until it was settled," the statement reads.

While they clearly have their classmates' backs during this scandal, illustrious Hollywood institution the American Film Institute doesn't share the same sentiments as, according to Variety, it has canceled its Friday screening of Parker's film Birth of a Nation, which was set to be followed by a Q&A with him.

Read the full open letter from the Penn State alum, here, and catch up on the full story with BET Breaks above.

Written by Moriba Cummings

(Photo: Jeff Fusco/Getty Images)


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