Nate Parker Speaks Out About College Rape Accusations

Nate Parker Speaks Out About College Rape Accusations

Social media completely slammed the actor.

Published August 16th

Nate Parker is about to have the biggest moment of his career when his Oscar-buzzy film Birth of a Nation comes out this fall. But with fame comes scrutiny, and a dark secret from his past is coming back to haunt him.

In 1999, Parker — then a college student at Penn State University — and his roommate, Jean Celestin, who is his co-writer on Birth of a Nation, were charged with raping a fellow student who was unconscious in their apartment. Though Parker was acquitted on account that he had a prior sexual relationship with the woman, Celestin was convicted, but then granted a mistrial during his appeal when the victim decided she didn't want to testify again.

Now, with months of non-stop press for Birth of a Nation ahead of him, Parker is speaking out about the incident in hopes to get ahead of it. “Seventeen years ago, I experienced a very painful moment in my life,” he told Variety. “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.”

Unfortunately for him, Twitter isn't letting this one go:

Wow. Could this threaten the release of Parker's film, which is a hands-down favorite to sweep the Oscar nominations this year, and damage his reputation in Hollywood?

See what all the fuss around Birth of a Nation is about with BET Breaks, above.

Written by Evelyn Diaz

(Photo: Earl Gibson III/Getty Images for ESSENCE)

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