Nate Parker, writer, director and star of The Birth of a Nation, is pushing back against the coverage of his college rape trial by maintaining his innocence.

Nate Parker Maintains Innocence

While Parker has been promoting The Birth of the Nation, he’s been unable to avoid questions about being charged with raping a classmate at Penn State in 1999, where he was then a sophomore on the wrestling team. Parker was acquitted in the 2001 trial, but it has since emerged that the accuser killed herself in 2012. Her family has maintained that Parker and Jean Celestin – his then-roommate and Birth of a Nation collaborator – were guilty as charged, and that their actions led to her suicide.

Parker’s various responses to inquiries about the circumstances surrounding the trial have largely been criticized. Parker drew more criticism following his interview with Anderson Cooper for 60 Minutes that aired Sunday night.

“I do think it’s tragic, so much of what’s happened,” Parker told Cooper. “But, you know, at some point I have to say it. You know, I was falsely accused. You know, I went to court. And I sat in trial. … I was vindicated.”

Parker maintained his position on Monday during an Good Morning America Monday morning.

I was falsely accused,” Parker told GMA co-host Robin Roberts. “I was proven innocent and I’m not going to apologize for that.”

“I think the important thing, you know, is this isn’t about me,” Parker added, referring to Birth of a Nation. “The story of Nat Turner as an American, as American people, the story about a man who was erased from history, at some point. I think that’s where our focus should be.”

The Birth of a Nation hits theaters Friday.

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