Nate Parker is apologizing for his response to a past allegation of rape.
At the 2019 Venice Film Festival on Sunday, the 39-year-old actor and director spoke out about the previous rape allegation against him, which dates back to his time in college and came to the public's attention in 2016 around the time his film, The Birth of Nation, was released.
"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, according to the AP. "My response obviously hurt a lot of people, frustrated and angered a lot of people and I apologize."
Spike Lee, who was at the press conference in support of both Parker and the film, called his endorsement "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 was acquitted in a 2001 trial after an 18-year-old female classmate at Penn State accused him and then-roommate Jean Celestin of sexual assault. The woman claimed that she was unconscious, while Parker and Celestin argued that the sexual encounter was consensual. Celestin was initially found guilty, but his conviction was later overturned on appeal. In 2012, their accuser committed suicide.
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