Over the past several months, Nate Parker has attempted in various degrees of success ranging from “abject failure” to “better I guess kind of,” to provide damage control regarding his college rape accusations. Parker has always maintained that the encounter was consensual. But for his victim, as her sister told Variety, that was not the case. That this case caused her, someone who had just aged out of the foster system and for whom going to college was “a big deal,” to drop out of college. She ultimately took her own life in 2012.
In discussing her sister, Sharon Loeffler points out that this history makes one invented moment of Parker’s film questionable to say the least.
As her sister, the thing that pains me most of all is that in retelling the story of the Nat Turner slave revolt, they invented a rape scene. The rape of Turner’s wife is used as a reason to justify Turner’s rebellion.
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, and I take it as a cruel insult to my sister’s memory.
With all the attention surrounding this case and a million opportunities to comprehend and face up to his past actions, and at least one moment where it seemed he was beginning to understand the backlash, Parker’s upcoming 60 Minutes appearance is devastating.
Anderson Cooper: Do you feel guilty about anything that happened that night?
Nate Parker: I don’t feel guilty.
Cooper: Do you feel you did something morally wrong?
Parker: As a Christian man, just being in that situation, yeah sure. 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.
Variety reports that Parker goes on about his accuser. And how he won’t apologize for his actions.
“I was falsely accused…I went to court…I was vindicated,” Parker tells Anderson Cooper, according to a press release from “60 Minutes.” “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 concept of consent is not nor should it be considered “new” in any sense of the word. For far too many men, it is not something that, at best, they’ve never had to consider. More commonly, the definition of consent is something they learn from T-shirts:
And perhaps because of that idea, that the men who’ve had a tenuous grasp of consent thus far in life do not want to feel bad or guilty for past behavior that they didn’t realize was bad, as well as the more complicated matter that Birth of a Nation is the work of black artists and was poised to be the year’s most celebrated film, the level of forgiveness and explanation for Parker is varied. Mostly by gender, as to be expected. Even Jesse Williams put the work above the deed when it comes to Parker:
They don't want you to see The Birth of a Nation though….— jesseWilliams. (@iJesseWilliams) September 22, 2016
People will see Birth of a Nation. It will make money. His accuser will still be dead.
My thoughts are with Gabrielle Union who is going to end up stuck having to discuss this interview and who will continue to do a far better job of it than Parker.