Nate Parker officially spoke out about the death of his rape accuser last night via Facebook. The Birth of a Nation director and star released his statement hours after Variety published an exclusive interview with the brother of Parker’s rape accuser.
The brother, Johnny, told Variety that his sister, whose name remains anonymous, committed suicide in 2012. She was 30 years old. Johnny, whose last name has been omitted for privacy reasons, told Variety that his sister overdosed on sleeping pills. “She became detached from reality,” he told the publication. “The progression was very quick and she took her life.”
Parker and his college roommate, Jean Celestin, were charged in 1999 with raping a then-18-year-old woman in their apartment. Parker and Celestin were students at Penn State at the time. Parker was ultimately acquitted of the charges in 2001. Celestin was found guilty, and was sentenced to six months in prison. Celestin appealed the verdict, but the case never returned to court.
The upcoming release of Parker’s movie, Birth of a Nation, this October has sparked conversation about the actor, throwing his rape accusations back into public conversation. Parker gave interviews to both Deadline and Variety last week, in which he addressed the accusations. Deadline also published bits of the transcript from the trial, as well as a transcript of a phone conversation Parker had with the victim at the time.
“Over the last several days, a part of my past – my arrest, trial and acquittal on charges of sexual assault – has become a focal point for media coverage, social media speculation and industry conversation,” Parker wrote on Facebook last night. “I myself just learned that the young woman ended her own life several years ago and I am filled with profound sorrow,” he continued. “I can’t tell you how hard it is to hear this news. I can’t help but think of all the implications this has for her family.”
Read Parker’s full statement via Facebook below.