nate parker is held accountable but casey affleck gets a pass?

February 27, 2017

Nate Parker’s fall from grace was swift and decisive. The 37 year old actor, producer and director was all but a shoe-in to run the table this awards season with his film Birth of a Nation, but a decades-old sexual assault charge came back to haunt him at arguably the most inopportune time of his life. Since then, Birth of a Nation and Nate Parker have gone silent, little discussion surrounded them til the Oscars this week. Why? Because Casey Affleck, the younger brother of Ben Affleck, won Best Lead Actor for his role in ‘Manchester By The Sea,’ amid a sexual harassment allegations. How can someone currently mired in such allegations win the most prestigious award while someone else was precluded for indiscretions from almost two decades ago? The simple answer is race. The complicated answer is race. Black men are often cast as the sinister, barbaric among us both in film and in popular culture depictions, but white men and white people in general, are rarely held to the same standards as their Black counterparts. It’s unbelievably unfortunate that Casey Affleck gets to win while Nate Parker is cast into the shadows. But I suppose that’s the way it goes in Hollywood, just like how it goes in this country as a whole. To be clear, this is not to say that Nate Parker didn’t deserve the pushback he received for his flippancy surrounding the controversy, but if he was completely eliminated from all positive discussions in film, then why not Casey Affleck if his crimes were in the present? For a more in-depth look at how race and privilege affect this situation, look no further than this piece in the LA Times.