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Nate Parker won’t apologise for rape acquittal

Actor and filmmaker Nate Parker is doubling down on his refusal to apologise over the rape controversy surrounding his 1999 sexual assault case.
The 36-year-old and his Birth of a Nation collaborator and former roommate Jean Celestin were accused of sexual assault by an 18-year-old female classmate while studying at Penn State University in Pennsylvania.
Parker was acquitted in a 2001 trial, while Celestin was initially found guilty and sentenced to serve six months behind bars. His conviction was later overturned following an appeal.
The news of the rape trial resurfaced earlier this year (16), when Parker told Variety.com he had moved on from the troubled chapter in his life. However, the controversy has found its way into the headlines over and over again because of the acclaim Parker’s new film, Birth of a Nation, has been receiving.
In August (16), the actor apologised for the way he had handled the controversy, particularly after discovering his accuser had committed suicide in 2012, but he now insists he will not make amends for being acquitted.
“You know, I was falsely accused,” he told U.S. newsman Anderson Cooper on Sunday’s (02Oct16) 60 Minutes news show. “You know, I went to court. And I sat in trial. You know, I was vindicated. I was proven innocent.”
On Monday (03Oct16), Parker echoed the same sentiments in an interview on breakfast show Good Morning America, insisting he wants to focus on the real-life story behind the movie, about slave Nat Turner leading the bloodiest slave rebellion in U.S. history in 1831.
“I was falsely accused,” he said. “I was proven innocent and I’m not going to apologise for that.”
“I think the important thing, you know, is this isn’t about me,” he continued. “The story of Nat Turner as an American, as American people, to know the story of a man who was erased from history, at some point, I think that that’s where our focus should be.”
The star also insists the story is all the more relevant today because of the police brutality cases involving African-Americans which have been spotlighted in the media.
“We’ve become desensitised to the things that are happening and the question is, to what do we owe? What is our responsibility?” he added. “I think patriotism is all about wanting to see America better, wanting to see those who are oppressed do better and get treated better.”

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