I have never seen anything like what's happening with Nate Parker right now. Of course, I've seen prominent public figures suspected and/or accused of wrongdoing do the apology tour thing. And I've also seen many of these types of figures eschew the tour thing, either because they were advised to by their lawyers/publicists/management — who figured, for whatever reason, that doing it would be more harmful than not — or they just didn't care enough the controversy to bother. Either way, what's done is done out of an instinctual need for self-preservation. For people to ultimately do what they believe is necessary to save their own ass.
Nate Parker, however, seems to want to somehow un-save himself. Despite countless attempts to help him remove his own foot from his own mouth — and even actually successfully doing it for lack a week — he seems hellbent on placing it back in there and keeping it there for perpetuity. Like he likes the taste of size 12 Timberland and can't get enough of it. It's like a kid being told by everyone — parents, teachers, friends, neighbors, and even a speaking Doberman Pinscher — to not eat the cat poop he's holding in his hand. And then being convinced to drop the cat poop. And then everyone says "Yay. Good for you for dropping the cat poop!" And then right when they're done congratulating him, he stuffs a fistful of cat poop in his mouth.
Below is a small list of people who have either allowed Nate to explain himself or even just came out and said "You know what…you're not prepared to handle the consequences of eating this cat poop. So go sit down and I'll do it myself."
1. Fans of Nate Parker
2. Classmates of Nate Parker at Penn State
3. People who've seen Birth of a Nation and believe it's an important movie that needs to be seen
4. People who haven't yet seen Birth of a Nation, but wish to and recognize that it's an important movie that needs to be seen
6. Jesse Williams, in a way
7. Fox Searchlight
8. Gabrielle Union, who, by sharing her poignant and powerful words about her own experience with sexual assault, has practically made herself Nate Parker's kevlar vest
And yet, somehow, someway he still found a way to show his ass on 60 Minutes, expressing his lack of guilt and regret over what happened that night — and what he did in the weeks/months/years following that night — and the fallout from it. And, just in case anyone went to bed early last night, he reiterated his feelings on Good Morning America, and even got a little short and testy with Robin Roberts.
There is no discernible upside to him continuing to do this. He must know that any national interview will probe that topic. And he also must know that there's no way for him to say the words "I don't feel guilty" and it not be the only thing anyone will remember about that interview. Which either means that he's not smart (which we know is not true) or that he's so thoroughly entrenched in Peak Fuckboy that his arrogance has made him oblivious.
The part about this all that's most perplexing is the fact that no one wants to do this. Whenever a prominent figure — particularly a prominent figure who happens to be a Black male — goes through the criticism ringer for suspected misdeeds, there's also a criticism to the criticism. Particularly a criticism from Black people aimed at other Black people who happen to be critical.
What these people fail to realize is that we (the critical people) were ready and willing to drink the Nate Parker and the Birth of a Nation Kool-Aid too! I'd much, much, much rather be writing about the 36-year-old Black man who produced, directed, and starred in a film about America's most storied slave revolt than about a 36-year-old fuckboy who doesn't seem to have changed much in 17 years. I, like most other people, would prefer to be able to go and see the movie without the aid of any cognitive dissonance. I was even willing to gloss over the fact that, as Soraya McDonald brilliantly articulated at The Undefeated, Birth of a Nation might not even be that good.
We were rooting for this dude. No one was sitting around thinking "I really, really, really, really hope that this dude has some unsavory rape allegations in his past. And that, when given multiple opportunities to express any type of remorse about it, he digs his foot deeper into his mouth. Because I would definitely love for that to cloud, color, and complicate my feelings about this film!"
Anyway, the movie comes out this week. Go see it, or don't go see it. It's whatever. Just know Nate Parker doesn't seem to give any fucks about your spiritual and emotional support. Or not making you look like a damn fool for supporting him. Just your money.