Nate Parker Declines to Apologize Over Rape Trial Scandal, Says "I Don't Feel Guilty"

The Hollywood Reporter

Nate Parker is making no apologies about the 17-year-old rape case that has mired his film The Birth of a Nation in controversy.

Parker sat down with Anderson Cooper for a piece that aired on Sunday's edition of 60 Minutes, just days ahead of Birth's release in theaters.

Asked if he feels guilty about anything, Parker replied: "I don't feel guilty."

But he feel he did anything morally wrong? "As a Christian man, just being in that situation, yeah sure. I'm 36 years old right now, and 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."

Parker, who stars in, directed, co-wrote and co-produced The Birth of a Nation, was accused of rape when he was a sophomore at Penn State. He was acquitted in the case.

Asked if he wanted to apologize, Parker replied: "I'll say this. I do think it's tragic, so much of what happened and [what] the family had to endure with respect to this woman not being here. I don't want to harp in this and be disrespectful of them, but at some point I have to say it: I was ly accused. I went to court, and I sat in trial. I was vind - [choking up]. I was vindicated. I was proven innocent, and 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."

His accuser committed suicide in 2012.

"I had no idea," Parker said. "I found on in the news. I was devastated. It was shocking. I couldn't believe it."

The Birth of a Nation debuted in January at the Sundance Film Festival, where it was hailed as an antidote to the then-raging #OscarsSoWhite backlash. Parker's film immediately sparked widespread Oscar expectations and a bidding war among distributors. Fox Searchlight, an Academy Awards regular, landed it for a festival record $17.5 million, with the assurance of a nationwide release. It's to open in theaters Friday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.