Almost immediately after the ecstatic Sundance response to Nate Parker‘s The Birth of a Nation last January, I was sent links to articles about Parker’s 1999 Penn State rape case. I had two reactions. One, although Nate’s friend Jean Celestin, who was also involved in the PSU assault of a 20 year old female student and who currently shares story credit on The Birth of a Nation, was sentenced to six months (which he never did the time for), Nate walked so I figured “leave it alone, happened 17 years ago, drinking was involved, it has nothing to do with here and now.” Two, I knew somebody reputable would jump on it sooner or later.
Today the inevitable examination pieces about Parker’s rape case popped in Variety and Deadline. Parker gave interviews to Deadline‘s Michael Cieply and Mike Fleming, and also to Variety‘s Ramin Setoodeh.
How is Parker explaining the case? What new light is he shedding? What particulars has he decided to share? Answer: No details, no particulars…nothing. Parker is basically saying that it happened 17 years ago, he walked, it happened under difficult circumstances but he’s moved on and that’s that.
Parker to Setoodeh: “Seventeen years ago, I experienced a very painful moment in my life. It resulted in it being litigated. I was cleared of it. That’s that. Seventeen years later, I’m a filmmaker. I have a family. I have five beautiful daughters. I have a lovely wife. I get it. The reality is…I can’t relive 17 years ago. All I can do is be the best man I can be now.”