Nate Parker, the director, co-writer, and star of The Birth of a Nation, is scheduled to appear on 60 Minutes this Sunday, and, according to a preview of the interview released by CBS, he doesn’t plan on apologizing for his role in the alleged rape of a woman who has since committed suicide. Parker and his college roommate, Jean McGianni Celestin, who helped co-write the upcoming film, were charged with raping a fellow student while she was unconscious in 1999. Parker was acquitted in 2001, while Celestin was convicted and sentenced to six months in prison. Celestin’s conviction was later overturned.
In a clip of the interview released by CBS, Anderson Cooper asked Parker, “Do you feel guilty about anything that happened [the night of the alleged rape]?”
“I don’t feel guilty,” said Parker. Pressed on whether he had anything to apologize for, Parker said, “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.”
The victim’s sister, Sharon Loeffler, has written a guest column for Variety in which she says that The Birth of a Nation, a story about the Nat Turner slave rebellion that features two implied rape scenes, “exploits [her sister] all over again,” because they are not historically accurate.
“The rape of Turner’s wife is used as a reason to justify Turner’s rebellion,” wrote Loeffler. “This is fiction. I find it creepy and perverse that Parker and Celestin would put a fictional rape at the center of their film, and that Parker would portray himself as a hero avenging that rape. Given what happened to my sister, and how no one was held accountable for it, I find this invention self-serving and sinister.”
Read the full story at Buzzfeed.