Seventeen years ago, Nate Parker was accused of rape. While living his life as a standout wrestler for Penn State, Nate Parker was accused of raping a fellow student, a freshman scholarship student who had a bright and promising future and a 4.0 GPA to go with it.
Obviously, the rape case got tons of publicity and raised red flags about a controversial rape-culture all over the United States. Ultimately, Parker was acquitted of the charges and given the privilege of carrying out his life as a free man. Parker took every advantage of his freedom and went on to become the man we now know as the successful actor and director of Hollywood stardom.
However, some of his recent statements have many people scratching their heads. Upon learning about his alleged victim’s suicide in 2012, Parker made statements that some people believe are indicators of guilt, showing signs of particular vulnerability on his Facebook page.
No, he hasn’t come right out and admitted to wrongdoing. No, he didn’t say “I’m so sorry for what I did,” but he has made statements of remorse that some people believe point to feelings of guilt pertaining to his actions in the past.
Hold on, did Nate Parker says he’s guilty? Even though he was acquitted https://t.co/lJ20J4jXud
Wtf do you mean ur a different man?
— Agbaya (@MansaCam) August 23, 2016
Parker maintains that his only feelings of guilt stem from a lack of sensitivity on his part during his younger days, and particularly where his accuser was concerned. He openly admitted to feeling remorseful over some of the comments he made before, during and after his trial.
“When I think about 1999, I think about being a 19-year-old kid, and I think about my attitude and behavior just toward women with respect objectifying them. I never thought about consent as a definition, especially as I do now. I think the definitions of so many things have changed.”
Sadly, his alleged victim, who despite years of increased technological advance has somehow managed to remain anonymous, took her own life at the age of 30. Her brother stated in an interview that the rape (naturally affirming his sister’s allegations) sent her into a downward spiral from which she couldn’t recover, and left her with lifelong scars that eventually led her to take her own life.
News of her suicide comes on the heels of Nate Parker’s celebration over the upcoming release of The Birth of a Nation. Parker, who is now a well known and well respected actor and director, has received both criticism and support through social media outlets in recent weeks.
— Michelle Pollino (@MichelleFOXENT) August 25, 2016
Several of you decided Nate Parker is innocent because he was acquitted, he was never found “not guilty” lmao that doesn’t mean innocence.
— Prince Cigarettes (@Devoted2Mariah) August 23, 2016
Recently, Parker spoke out about his rape trial, and he’s been forthcoming with the some of the deeper and darker elements of that period of his life. Many people find his openness refreshing while others believe it’s too little too late.
“What did I do wrong? Because I was thinking about myself. And what I realized is that I never took a moment to think about the woman. I didn’t think about her [the accuser] then, and I didn’t think about her when I was saying those statements, which was wrong and insensitive…
I’m trying to transform behaviors and ideas that have never been challenged in certain ways in my life,’ he told EBONY. ‘I’m not the kid that I was at 19.”
No matter which side of the fence you fall on, The Birth of a Nation will be released October 7. The film received rave reviews at the Sundance Film Festival, and it has become one of the fall’s most anticipated films.
[Photo by Todd Williamson/Getty Images]