Four Penn State University alumni who were students there at the time Nate Parker and his then-roommate were charged with the rape of a fellow student have written a compelling letter in defense of the "The Birth of a Nation" actor-writer-director.
Since then, Parker's Oscar-hopeful status has been clouded, and the American Film Institute this week canceled a planned Friday screening of "The Birth of a Nation".
Parker said during the interview that he didn't know much about consent when he was 19 years old, saying it "wasn't a conversation people were having". "When I think about 1999, I think about being a 19-year-old kid, and I think about my attitude and behavior just toward women with respect objectifying them". If she didn't say anything and she was open, and she was down, it was like how far can I go? Compare that to 2016: "even now in a relationship, I feel like I'm way more attentive and curious as to what my wife wants, if she feels like (having sex), her body language".
After the victim's suicide came to light, Parker added on Facebook, "I can not - nor do I want to ignore the pain she endured during and following our trial". 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.
"I think it's very hard to talk about injustice and not deal with what's happening right now", Parker said. Shortly after it came to light that the woman who made the allegations had killer herself, Parker took to his personal Facebook page to address it head on. "You need to think about how that affects you, how it affects them, how it affects the women in your life'".
Four of Parker's college classmates also have his support.
"I'm growing in my relationships with (the) LGBT (community)", he said.
"I never thought about consent as a definition, especially as I do now".
Parker said that he needs to seek information that will make him stronger, "that'll help me overcome my toxic masculinity, my male privilege, because that's something you never think about". He apologized for his initial response as well as his 2014 statements about homosexuality, in which he said he would never play a gay man.
The question of whether you can separate the man from the movie is now a familiar one in Hollywood, and Academy members are divided over whether they will see the film at all. "I think the definitions of so many things have changed".
"I was acting as if I was the victim, and that's wrong", he said. I'm sorry for everyone who ever read similar comments or just got wind of something was said. I can not bring this young woman who was someone else's daughter, someone's sister and someone's mother back to life.I have changed so much since nineteen. "I didn't even think for a second about her, not even for a second".