In a new interview with Steve Harvey, Nate Parker shares his disappointment with how the media has covered the 17-year-old rape controversy that’s surrounded him over the last few months.
As you know, while promoting his ‘The Birth of A Nation‘ film, Parker has been plagued with headlines surrounding him and his former Pen State roommate, Jean Celestin. They were accused of raping a student in 1999 after a party. The unidentified woman committed suicide in 2012.
While on the Steve Harvey Show, Parker questioned the media’s intentions.
What are these journalists trying to do? Do they care about anyone involved? Do they care about what we’ve been talking about?
Parker, who was unaware that the woman committed suicide in 2012, continues:
Are we in the business of headlines or are we in the business of healing?
The media picked it up and began to run with it If you are a black man in this country and you are accused of raping a white woman, your chances of walking out of that courtroom are slim to none. To tie all of that back to you (13 years later), it’s not right. I find that to be just a bit unfair.
Parker stated that he regrets how he initially handled the news of the unidentified accuser’s death.
When this happened, and I spoke to it, it was insensitive. I caught a lot of flak for it, for being indignant and saying, ‘I’m innocent. I was falsely accused so that’s that!’ — not realizing that, one, there should be empathy for any woman.
We need to talk about something that is epidemic in America that no one’s talking about. If my film or if this moment has to be something that puts our eyes and the spotlight on it, then so be it — and that is sexual violence against women by men in this country. Guess what? The media ain’t covering that.
Parker was acquitted of the rape charges in 2001. Celestin was found guilty of sexual assault. He later appealed the verdict and was granted a new trial in 2005. The case never made it back to court after the woman declined to testify again. “The Birth of a Nation”, produced, directed and starring Parker as Nat Turner, hits theaters October 7th.