Eyeing a comeback on the Hollywood stage, writer, actor, and director Nate Parker apologized during the Venice Film Festival over the weekend for being tone def about his college rape charges that resurfaced around the time of his film The Birth of A Nation.
“The last three years have been such a learning experience for me,” Parker said. “I feel like I have gained so much wisdom from people in my circle.”
On hand to premiere his latest film American Skin, Parker took time to address his past.
“Three years ago I was pretty tone-deaf to the realities of certain situations that were happening in the climate. And I’ve had a lot of time to think about that, and I’ve learned a lot from it,” he said. “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.”
During the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, Parker’s film about Nate Turner and the slave rebellion earned rave reviews and a standing ovation from those in attendance. It was purchased by Fox Searchlight for an astounding $17.5 million. However, the film starring Parker as Turner, Gabrielle Union, Armie Hammer, Aja Naomi King, Coleman Domingo, and Aunjanue Ellis tanked in the box office after it was revealed Parker was charged with rape while attending Penn State.
Parker was acquitted in 2001 of the charge, however, while doing press for Birth of A Nation, was accused of making callous remarks, especially after it was discovered the victim committed suicide. Since then, Parker has remained under the radar and quietly working on his current project, American Skin. While details are scarce, the film centers around police brutality and stars a relatively unknown cast.
Spike Lee was in Italy to support Parker and the film and is quoted in Variety as saying he sat with Parker to discuss his previous actions and thinks he’s grown.
“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,” the Oscar-winning actor said.