In a new “60 Minutes” interview with Anderson Cooper airing this Sunday, “The Birth of a Nation” writer/director/star Nate Parker says he was “vindicated” during his 1999 rape trial and doesn’t feel inclined to apologize. His comments were first shared with the Associated Press.
“I was falsely accused. I went to court. I was vindicated,” Parker told Cooper. “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.” His comments are a contrast to a statement he made last month to Ebony: “I’m approaching from a standpoint of humility,” he told the magazine’s Britni 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.”
Parker was acquitted in the 1999 trial. His “Birth of a Nation” co-writer Jean Celestin pleaded guilty and later had his conviction overturned on appeal; among the news that’s come out in the last two months is that their accuser took her own life in 2012. “I had no idea. I found out about it in the news,” he told Cooper, who then asked him how he felt about it. “Devastated. Shocking. I couldn’t believe it.”
In response to a question from Cooper as to whether he felt he’d done something wrong, Parker was more equivocal. “As a Christian man, just being in that situation, yeah, sure,” Parker explained. “I am 36 years old right now. My faith is very important to me. So looking back through that lens, it’s not the lens I had when I was 19 years old.”
Watch a clip of his interview below:
“The Birth of a Nation,” which first premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January, is being released in theaters next week.