The controversy that has followed Nate Parker since the circumstances surrounding his 1999 rape trial resurfaced last month, gained a head of steam on Thursday (September 29) when a CBS News press release cited the director/producer as having refused to apologize over the allegations.
The network leaked comments made by Parker in tandem with a teaser for its “60 Minutes” feature on him, scheduled to air on Sunday.
“I was falsely accused …I went to court …I was vindicated … I feel terrible that this woman isn’t here … her family had to deal with that, but as I sit here, an apology is ― no,” Parker is quoted as saying.
While the 36-year-old actor was acquitted of the four counts he was charged with, certain aspects of the case, together with particulars of a harassment suit which revealed that Parker was concerned with exposing his accusers identity to the hostility of students around the Penn State University campus, have been seen as alarming by rape victims and their advocates.
During the “60 Minutes” interview, CBS correspondent Anderson Cooper asked Parker if he felt “morally wrong” for his association with the charges, and his subsequent conduct because it pertained to the accuser. “As a Christian man, just being in that situation, yeah, sure. I’m 36 years old right now, and my faith is very important to me. So looking back at that lens, I definitely feel like, it’s not the lens I had when I was 19 years old,” Parker responded.
For many who’ve continued to follow the aftermath in the years since Parker’s trial, the accusations made towards him were further exasperated when in 2012 the plaintiff committed suicide. Characterizing Parker and fellow suspect Jean Celestin’s eventual acquittal as a typical case of athletes [Parker and Celestin were on the school wrestling team] receiving the protection of college athletic departments in such situations, the alleged victim’s family has publicly lauded the trial and those involved as responsible for her death. Hours apart from CBS’ release of the “60 Minutes” teaser, Variety published an Op-Ed written by her sister, titled, Nate Parker’s ‘Birth of a Nation’ Exploits My Sister All Over Again.
“I think that Nat Turner, as a hero, what he did in history, is bigger than me,” Parker is reported as having said during the exclusive.
Watch the teaser clip on the CBS website.