The Birth of a Nation director Nate Parker has apologised for his “selfish” reaction when rape allegations from his past resurfaced. Parker, 36, opened up about the controversy surrounding the rape trial he faced in college in 1999 in an interview to Ebony magazine.
“When I was first met with the news that this part of my past had come up, my knee-jerk reaction was selfish. I wasn’t thinking about even the potential hurt of
others. I was thinking about myself,” he said.
Parker’s initial response to the case was considered insensitive by many and the director admitted that he is trying to learn more about the issue.
“I was acting as if I was the victim. And that’s wrong. I was acting as if I was the victim because I felt like, my only thought was that I’m innocent and everyone needs to know. I didn’t even think for a second about her, not even for a second.”
Parker, 36, was acquitted in a 2001 trial after a classmate at Penn State accused him and his then-classmate and current collaborator Jean Celestin of sexual assault. Celestin was initially found guilty, but his conviction was later overturned on an appeal.
Parker said he regrets what he has previously done in his life and he is trying to be a better person now.
“I’m a work in progress. I’m trying to be better. I feel remorse for all the women that are survivors that felt I was being insensitive because I was. And I want to have a better understanding of how I can be more of an ally, if they’ll accept me.
“There will be people who won’t accept me, and that’s okay. All I can do is say that I stand for justice and really learn more about this issue so I can be a better ally of this issue,” he added.
The Birth of a Nation is based on the story of Nat Turner, played by Parker in the film, who led a slave rebellion in Southampton County, Virginia in 1831. It will hit the theatres on October 7.
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