Armie Hammer has a problem with racism in Hollywood, which is good. But Hammer has chosen to express his issue with Hollywood racism in a way that, forgive us if we're misinterpreting, sounds like it's sympathizing with a man accused of brutal sexual assault. Which, in case you're keeping score, is not so good.
In an interview with THR, Hammer called out the difference in the way Nate Parker, director of Birth of a Nation, was treated in comparison to Casey Affleck, star of Manchester By The Sea, in terms of their respective performances at the Oscars.
Calling the rape accusations against Parker "orchestrated for sure," Hammer suggested that the accusations resurfaced as part of a plot by a competing filmmaker to sabotage the movie, though he declines to name names: "There was another person in the industry, who had a competing film for the Academy Awards, who decided to release all of the phone records and information. I've been told who did it — by several people."
According to Hammer, it's unfair that Parker ended up in "director's jail" for his alleged crimes while Affleck won an Oscar.
"Nate had the stuff in his past, which is heinous and tough to get beyond. I get that," Hammer said. "But that was when he was 18, and now he's in directors jail. At the same time, the guy who went and won an Academy Award has three cases of sexual assault against him."
Hammer went on to minimize the accusations against Parker, saying the director "had one incident — which was heinous and atrocious," but — of course there's a "but" — Hammer continues, "but his entire life is affected in the worst possible way. And the other guy won the highest award you can get as an actor. It just doesn't make sense."
We'll let THR's Seth Abramovitch convey the next part:
I point out the details of the Parker trial — a claim of gang rape on a heavily intoxicated woman, followed by his accuser's suicide — are much graver than what Affleck was accused of, which involved a pattern of demeaning and lewd language and, in one instance, drunkenly climbing into bed with a woman without her consent. "Look," says Hammer. "I'm not saying Nate should not have been in trouble. I'm saying that they got in different levels of trouble. And that's the disparity. It's like there are two standards for how to deal with someone who has this kind of issue in their past, you know?"
There is definitely merit in pointing out how racism affects the way that society doles out punishment disproportionately to Black men. There's an eloquent way to make that important point, we're sure. But claiming that rape accusations were "orchestrated" to damage a man's career and bemoaning the fact that the man is now in "director's jail" — which is not a real part of the penal system — is probably not it.