‘I don’t feel guilty’: Nate Parker addresses 1999 rape allegation

Speaking to 60 Minutes, the director of Birth of a Nation says he sees things through a different lens than he did when he was 19 years old

Nate Parker, director of the film The Birth of a Nation, says he does not feel guilty about a rape allegation levied against him in 1999, in a taped interview with 60 Minutes to air on Sunday.

Parker has spoken out in the past about the 2001 trial against him and his college roommate Jean Celestin, who shares story credit with Parker on the film. Parker was acquitted of the charge of raping an unconscious woman, and Celestins conviction was later overturned. Parker and the woman had had an earlier, consensual sexual encounter.

News of the trial resurfaced as Parkers directorial debut based on the 1831 slave revolt led by Nat Turner began to gain acclaim. Parker directed, co-wrote and starred in the film.

In a clip from the episode released by CBS on Thursday, interviewer Anderson Cooper asks Parker if he feels guilty about anything that happened that night.

I dont feel guilty, Parker responds. Cooper then asks if Parker feels he did something morally wrong.

As a Christian man, just being in that situation, yeah, sure. Im 36 years old right now and my faith is very important to me. So looking back through that lens, its not the lens that I had when I was 19 years old, Parker says.

Parker previously spoke to Ebony Magazine and said his definition of consent had changed since the incident and that his initial comments on the situation which were met with a backlash, defaced posters and a postponed screening came from a standpoint of ignorance.

The woman who accused Parker and Celestin dropped out of college and later killed herself, in 2012. Court documents also show the woman said she was harassed by the two men after she reported the incident to the police. On Thursday, Variety published a column by the womans sister, speaking out against Parker.

Parker told Cooper that the news of the womans death was devastating and shocking. I had absolutely no idea. I found out in the news, he said.

According to a preview article written by CBS, Parker grew emotional when asked if he had anything to apologize for. I was falsely accused I went to court I was vindicated, he says. I feel terrible that this woman isnt here Her family had to deal with that, but as I sit here, an apology is no, he said.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/film/2016/sep/30/nate-parker-birth-of-a-nation-rape-allegation-60-minutes-interview

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