Nate Parker’s ‘60 Minutes’ Interview Clip: ‘I Do Not Feel Guilty’ About Rape Controversy
The controversy surrounding The Birth of a Nation has soured the wild success of what very well could be one of this year’s Oscar contenders. After the news went public that the director and star Nate Parker had been accused of raping a classmate when he was in college at Penn State, but then was acquitted, it was all anyone could talk about in reference to the film. Parker himself has answered questions about it in interviews before and seems very open to discuss the incident, although careful never to admit guilt, and now CBS has posted a preview clip of their 60 Minutes interview with him that will air this weekend.
Parker seems calm and solemn in the fifty-or-so seconds CBS released, which you can watch here, but when Anderson Cooper asked him point-blank if he feels guilty, he replies that he doesn’t. Yet, when Cooper rephrased the question into “Do you feel that you did something morally wrong?” Parker has a different response.
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, you know, so looking back through that lens, I definitely feel like it’s not the lens that I had when I was 19 years old.
The conversation around topics like sexual assault especially on college campuses is vastly different from what it was 17 years ago, and if this case had happened today, the outcome very well might have been different. This is, however, yet another moment when Parker says that he feels bad about what happened without actually saying he did anything bad. Later in the clip, he says he was “devastated” when he heard about his accuser’s suicide in 2012.
Where we go from here remains to be seen, as awards season is steadily heating up. On the one hand, it’s nice that Parker is at least willing to discuss the accusations rather than brush them aside like so many other big Hollywood names have done. But on the other, he’s very careful never to imply that he himself was involved in any conscious wrongdoing. The truth is, we just don’t know exactly what happened, and we can’t know. This latest controversy, coupled with the recent accusations leveled against stars like Bill Cosby and Woody Allen, has left many of us unsure how to feel about the bad taste in our mouths.
The full 60 Minutes interview with Nate Parker airs this Sunday on CBS.