Anthony Anderson Stands By Nate Parker, Says His Talent Is “What We Should Focus On”

August 19, 2016  |  

While driving around in Beverly Hills yesterday, Anthony Anderson was stopped by a TMZ photog in an effort to talk about Nate Parker. Anderson was asked whether or not the rape charges from 1999 that Parker was acquitted of and the details of the case that are getting out would negatively impact the release of The Birth of a Nation. Anderson’s response?

“I have no idea, but you know what? I think he’s a great guy, an excellent filmmaker and a great actor,” Anderson said. “That’s what we should focus on.”

When asked if he plans to support the film, as quite a few people, particularly women, have said they refuse to, Anderson said, “Of course I am.”

As TMZ would go on to point out, Anderson is able to relate to Parker’s situation based on the fact that he was actually accused of rape in the past. A woman looking to be an extra for Hustle & Flow claimed that Anderson and assistant director Wayne Witherspoon sexually assaulted her. According to USA Today, she said they attacked her in a trailer on the movie’s set. In court, she testified that she did engage in sex with Anderson and Witherspoon a few days before she said the attack happened, but also stated that those “encounters also were forced,” though she didn’t report them. In 2004, rape charges were dropped against both men. The judge at the time, skeptical of her testimony, reportedly said, “This is absolutely the most suspicious case I’ve ever heard.”

As for Parker, we told you earlier this week that he put out a statement after news broke that his accuser committed suicide in 2012. In it, Parker said, “While I maintain my innocence that the encounter was unambiguously consensual, there are things more important than the law. There is morality; no one who calls himself a man of faith should even be in that situation. As a 36-year-old father of daughters and person of faith, I look back on that time as a teenager and can say without hesitation that I should have used more wisdom. I look back on that time, my indignant attitude and my heartfelt mission to prove my innocence with eyes that are more wise with time. I see now that I may not have shown enough empathy even as I fought to clear my name. Empathy for the young woman and empathy for the seriousness of the situation I put myself and others in.”

You can read his message in full, here.

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