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Nate Parker Gets Honest Following Rape Controversy Remarks: ‘I Was Acting As If I Was the Victim, and That’s Wrong’

The "Birth of a Nation" writer/director/star reflects on his initial response.

Nate Parker Sundance Institute

Nate Parker receiving the Vanguard Award at the Sundance Institute’s Night Before Next

Ryan Kobane, Courtesy of Sundance Institute

Nate Parker’s first few interviews about his 1999 rape trial, news of which recently resurfaced, did little to quell the controversy. Now, the “Birth of a Nation” writer/star/director has spoken to Ebony‘s Britni Danielle about his initial response and how he feels he’s learned from the experience. “I’m approaching from a standpoint of humility,” he tells Danielle. “I’m sorry for all the women who are survivors who felt hurt by my words because they were insensitive and they were nonchalant.”

READ MORE: Academy President on Nate Parker Scandal: ‘People Need to See’ ‘The Birth of a Nation

Parker was acquitted, while his ‘Birth of a Nation’ co-writer Jean Celestin plead guilty and later had his conviction overturned; among the news that’s come out in recent weeks is that their accuser took her own life in 2012. Parker says he’s read several articles about his trial and his own remarks since granting his first round of interviews. “I didn’t know the status of the women” when he made those public remarks, he says. “I didn’t know. 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 I’m innocent and everyone needs to know. I didn’t even think for a second about her, not even for a second.”

Parker continues: “You asked me why I wasn’t empathetic? Why didn’t it come off more empathetic? Because I wasn’t being empathetic. Why didn’t it come off more contrite? Because I wasn’t being contrite. Maybe I was being even arrogant. And learning about her passing shook me, it really did. It really shook me.”

READ MORE: Nate Parker: Four Key Thinkpieces With Provocative Viewpoints on the ‘Birth of a Nation’ Writer/Director’s 1999 Rape Trial

Danielle stays firm throughout the interview, challenging Parker on some of his responses. Read the full piece here.

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