With just three days until his highly anticipated film The Birth of A Nation hits theaters, Nate Parker is doing a heavy round of TV interviews. But while he wants to keep the focus on his film, which he wrote, starred in and directed, many are still bringing up his 17 year old rape case, and he’s not here for it.
During his sit down with 60 Minutes on Sunday evening Parker spoke with Anderson Cooper and discussed the case that began getting media attention this August, but maintained his innocence, refusing to apologize.
“I do think [her death] is tragic … I was falsely accused. I went to court. I sat in trial. I was vindicated,” Parker said as he wept. “I feel terrible that this woman isn’t here. I feel terrible that her family had to deal with that, but as I sit here, an apology is no.”
Parker echoed those sentiment Monday morning when he sat down with Robin Roberts for Good Morning America, but seemed to be a little more agitated by her line of questioning.
When Roberts remarked that people seemed to be taken aback by his lack of empathy or remorse regarding the situation, Parker replied “And who are we talking about?”
When Roberts elaborated and referred specifically to the now deceased accuser’s family, Parker replied: “You know I was just on 60 Minutes, we talked about it and we’re three days out, I think the important thing is, this isn’t about me.”
“I was falsely accused,” he added after being prodded by a persistent Roberts for an apology. “I was proven innocent and I’m not going to apologize for that.”
The actor was accused of raping a fellow classmate while he was a student at Penn State University in 1999. Parker was later acquitted, but his college roommate and wrestling teammate, Jean Celestin, who is also his collaborator on “Birth of a Nation,” was found guilty before his verdict was overturned on appeal. Both men have maintained the sex was consensual and Celestin’s case was never retried.
While talking with Cooper Sunday night, his first TV interview since news of the case surfaced, Parker also said he doesn’t feel guilty when asked if he felt he did something “morally” wrong.
“As a Christian man, just being in that situation, yeah sure. I am 36 years old right now. My faith is very important to me so looking back through that lens I definitely feel it’s not the lens I had when I was 19 years old.”
During both sit-downs Parker maintained that he wants to move past talking about this 17 year old case and focus on Nat Turner and the film.
“The story of Nat Turner as an American, as American people, the story about a man who was erased from history, at some point. I think that’s where our focus should be,” he told Roberts.
So do you agree with Parker, and feel like he doesn’t need to apologize? Let us know in the comments below.