Nate Parker Issues An Apology For Being “Tone-Deaf” After Rape Allegations; Talks New Film And Spike Lee’s Support

Actor and filmmaker Nate Parker is making a comeback after losing his Academy Award nomination for his directorial debut with “The Birth Of A Nation” in 2016, following the resurfacing of a 1999 rape charge.

Now, with a new film debuting at the Venice Film International Film Festival, Parker is ready to come clean and apologize for his response in 2016 as reported by the Associated Press.

“Standing here today at 39, the reality is I was quite tone-deaf … to a lot of the things that happened in the climate,” Parker said at a small news conference in Venice on Sunday. “My response obviously hurt a lot of people, frustrated and angered a lot of people, and I apologize.”

The actor was accused of sexual assault when he was a sophomore at Penn State University. Although he was acquitted, the incident reappeared in the news amid the release of “The Birth of a Nation,” a film critics for sure thought would win awards. However, Parker forfeited his winnings when he responded to the resurfaced allegations, saying he was “falsely accused” and had been “vindicated” by the court, during a time where Hollywood was heavy into the #MeToo era.

During the festival, Parker sat alongside Spike Lee and also discussed his new film, “American Skin” which he stars in as an ex-Marine who watches a police officer kills his unarmed 14-year-old son during a traffic stop. Once justice is not served, Parker’s character Lincoln Jefferson decides to take matters into his own hands. Parker was reportedly inspired to write the film after Michael Brown was killed in Ferguson, Missouri.

“I’m still learning and growing and still feeling the need to make films that speak to things that need to change in our country and the world,” Parker said. “And this topic was very dear to me.”

Lee also chimed in with his support of the film, offering support in any way possible, “I haven’t had a film that’s affected me this deeply in a while,” Lee said. “This is a very important film, and I wanted to be part of it … Art can affect people’s behavior, good or bad. And it is my hope that this film deals with the very serious problem with police and brown and black people in the United States of America.”

According to the AP, Lee had no reservations putting his name behind Parker’s.

“It’s a move forward. Nate is in here. He’s not hiding. He’s answering all questions,” Lee said. “This is only Nate’s second feature film, there’s a lot more in him.”

Parker’s intentions with the film are to open up every door for conversation possible, hoping viewers don’t see “American Skin” as pessimistic.

“I do have a lot of stories I want to tell because I feel like the world is broken,” Parker said, mentioning gun violence, indigenous people, and the plight of women globally as future themes to tackle. “It is my prayer that I’ll be able to tell more stories. All I can control is what I can control. And I hope moving forward that I get that opportunity.”

Nate Parker
(Photo by Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images)

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