Nate Parker is tackling controversy before controversy strikes.
In 1999, Parker and his Penn State University roommate were accused of raping an unconscious female student. Charges against both men were dropped, but the allegations have followed Parker throughout the duration of his career. Now, ahead of the release of The Birth of a Nation, which Parker wrote, directed and starred in, the actor wants to put the lingering accusations to rest once and for all, reports Deadline.
“I’ve done a lot of living and raised a lot of children,” he told Deadline. “I’ve got five daughters and a lovely wife. My mom lives here with me. I brought her here. I’ve got four younger sisters. Women have been such an important part of my life. I try every day to be a better father to my daughters, and a better husband.”
Parker says that he has moved on from that period of his life, but he wants women to know that he advocates for them, which is something he hopes to show with the film’s release.
“When I made this film, I said, ‘If you’ve got injustice, this is your film. And I’m coming,’” he said. “That is the legacy I want to leave behind. I can’t change anything. You move forward, and every moment you’re alive, you’re living in the moment. I continue to fight for what’s important to me and I will, no matter how deeply I go under this microscope, no matter how bright the spotlight, I will fight against injustice in everything I do. And I will raise children and try to leave a legacy that points to that desire to see the changes happen that I’ve fought for.”
WANT MORE FROM ESSENCE? Subscribe to our daily newsletter for the latest in hair, beauty, style and celebrity news.
Executives from Fox Searchlight, who purchased Parker’s film at Sundance, released a statement to Deadline saying that they continue to stand by Parker.
“Searchlight is aware of the incident that occurred while Nate Parker was at Penn State,” the studio said in a statement. “We also know that he was found innocent and cleared of all charges. We stand behind Nate and are proud to help bring this important and powerful story to the screen.”