The Real News
8.17.16 | April Reign
April Reign, creator of #OscarsSoWhite, unpacks the question of boycotting artists who are accused of rape
KWAME ROSE, TRNN: For the Real News Network here in Baltimore, Maryland, I'm Kwame Rose.There's been a lot of hype and controversy since the movie premier of Birth of a Nation at Sundance Film Festival, but even afterwards when Fox Searchlight bought the film for an unprecedented $17.5 million. Now the movie is back in the headlines before it's released in October in theatres nationwide, but not for any good reason. A conversation about rape allegations from 17 years ago against the writer and co-writer of the film, Nate Parker, and his college roommate Jean Celestin have come up. Nate Parker's admitted that he did things wrong, and people are taking to Twitter to react.I'm joined now by the founder and the starter of the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite, April Reign. She's a supermom, she's a blogger, she's a journalist. And like I said, she created the popular hashtag #OscarsSoWhite. April, thank you for joining us here at the Real News.
APRIL REIGN: Thank you for having me.
ROSE: April, let's--just to brief our viewers on what this incident actually is, Nate Parker, a famous actor. When he was a 19-year-old wrestler on a scholarship at Penn State he was accused by an 18-year-old freshman. She said she was allegedly raped. At the trial the accuser recalled being heavily intoxicated when she went to sleep at Parker and Celestin's apartment. Celestin, the co-writer of Birth of a Nation. The victim said she was mostly unconscious, only waking up briefly a few times during the middle of sex with both Parker and Celestin.Now, Parker was found not guilty, but Celestin was found guilty. But eventually that guilty verdict was thrown out as prosecutors decided not to re-try the case. April, why is rape coming back up, and why is this issue so recurring in Hollywood and on college campuses?
REIGN: Well, I think part of the issue here is that people are not following with respect to the issue of consent. And the consent has to be revokable consent. And so once you lose the ability to revoke your consent, you're no longer consenting to a sexual act. And we see this happen all too often. Not just in Hollywood, but as you say, on college campuses around the country, because we are not teaching our kids, the younger generation, what consent means. That you have to state it affirmatively, and that you need to hear it affirmatively before engaging in sexual contact.