Sister of rape victim says Nate Parker is exploiting her in new film

Sharon Loeffler, the sister of the woman who accused Nate Parker and Jean Celestin of rape 17 years ago, says that Parker’s new film, Birth of Nation, is exploiting her sister all over again.

In a guest column for Variety, Loeffler spoke out about the agony that her sister had endured after being raped at just barely 18 years old, stating that her sister had only just left the foster care system and was excited to go to college before he future was stolen, while Parker was able to move forward with his life as hers fell apart.

“In the years that followed, Nate Parker became a well-known actor. It tormented my sister to see him thrive while she was still struggling. In 2012, she committed suicide,” Loeffler said.

What’s more, she said, Parker is now using her sister in a new and humiliating way: by inventing a rape scene for his movie:

As her sister, the thing that pains me most of all is that in retelling the story of the Nat Turner slave revolt, they invented a rape scene. The rape of Turner’s wife is used as a reason to justify Turner’s rebellion.

This is fiction. I find it creepy and perverse that Parker and Celestin would put a fictional rape at the center of their film, and that Parker would portray himself as a hero avenging that rape.

Given what happened to my sister, and how no one was held accountable for it, I find this invention self-serving and sinister, and I take it as a cruel insult to my sister’s memory.

I think it’s important for people to know Nat Turner’s story. But people should know that Turner did not need rape to justify what he did. Parker and Celestin did not need to add that to Turner’s story to make him more sympathetic.

Loeffler went on to say that she doesn’t think the rape scene is accidental, either, and that Parker and Celestin are once more using her sister, writing, “I think Nate Parker and Jean Celestin knew this would come up. I think they thought that they could get away with exploiting my sister again, just like they did back at Penn State. They would just say that they were exonerated, and that they could dismiss her allegations. And now, instead of the power of Penn State, they would have the power of 20th Century Fox and the Murdoch family behind them.”

She added, “Since she is no longer here to speak for herself, I feel a duty to speak on her behalf. I was the closest person to her throughout her life. Nate Parker caused her so much pain, and that pain and anger are still raw for me.”