Director/actor Nate Parker's filmmaking career came to a screeching halt after his college rape charges resurfaced around the time his 2016 film, The Birth of a Nation, was released. Now, three years after the controversial moment, he has returned with another film and has chosen to briefly address his "tone-deaf" comments during a press junket in response to the charges.
According to Variety, seeking to make a comeback, Parker admitted that his past remarks were not expressed in the most appropriate way.
"The last three years have been such a learning experience for me," he said at a press conference at the Venice Film Festival for his new film, a police-brutality drama titled American Skin. "I feel like I have gained so much wisdom from people in my circle."
He went on to speak specifically on how his mindset has changed from then to now.
"Three years ago I was pretty tone-deaf to the realities of certain situations that were happening in the climate," he said. "And I've had a lot of time to think about that, and I've learned a lot from it. And being tone-deaf, there were a lot of people that were hurt in my response, in the way I approached things. I apologize to those people."
Parker also shared a variation of those same words in a video (in which he's sitting next to Spike Lee) posted by the Associated Press, saying, "Obviously, I've been away for a few years, which obviously allows for a lot of thinking and wisdom and I've learned a lot in the last three years. It's interesting when you're introspective and you look back as you're growing. [I'm] 39 now and, you know, 'What did I do wrong?' And I was completely tone-deaf to a lot of the situations, the climate, and a lot of people were hurt by that, and I apologize."
Take a look, below:
Variety further reports that Lee, who is supporting Parker's new film, which is in this year's Venice Film Festival, said they both discussed what happened in the past.
"He explained to me the growth he had gone through, and also the pain, and when he said that, I said, 'Come on, brother. I'm with you. That's why I'm here,'" he told the publication.
Parker's debut film, The Birth of a Nation, was picked up by Fox Searchlight in a record-breaking $17.5 million deal at Sundance, but flopped massively at the box office upon its nationwide release. The resurfaced news of the rape charges from Parker's college years negatively affected its performance. While he was acquitted in 2001, his nonchalant response to the situation, especially once it was revealed that his accuser later committed suicide, was seen as cruel.
This image of the director/actor is still ingrained in the minds of many who once supported his work. Several of them explained why they refuse to contribute to Parker's success until he fully offers up an apology worthy of being received. See their reactions, below: