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Nate Parker unapologetic in '60 Minutes' interview

In an interview with "60 Minutes," Nate Parker was unapologetic for a 17-year-old rape case that has surrounded his film, "The Birth of a Nation."

In excerpts from the interview to air Sunday shared exclusively with The Associated Press on Thursday, Parker said he was "falsely accused" and declined to make any apology. The woman who made the accusation killed herself in 2012.

Her sister, Sharon Loeffler, published a column in the trade paper Variety on Thursday, blasting Parker and "Nation" collaborator Jean Celestin for their role in her sister's life and for including a fictional rape scene in their film.

Loeffler said she was very close to her sister and feels "a duty to speak on her behalf." ''Nate Parker caused her so much pain, and that pain and anger are still raw for me," she writes.

Parker maintains in the "60 Minutes" interview that the accusations were unwarranted.

"I was falsely accused ... I went to court ... I was vindicated," he says. "I feel terrible that this woman isn't here ... Her family had to deal with that, but as I sit here, an apology is — no."

In the interview, Anderson Cooper presses Parker on whether he did something morally wrong.

"As a Christian man ... just being in that situation, yeah, sure," says Parker. "I am 36 years old right now ... my faith is very important to me ... so looking back through that lens ... it's not the lens I had when I was 19 years old."

Parker, who stars in, directed, co-wrote and co-produced "The Birth of a Nation," instead argued that his film, about Nat Turner's slave rebellion, deserves more attention than himself and the rape accusation, made when he was a student at Penn State. Parker was acquitted in the case.

"I think that Nat Turner, as a hero, what he did in history, is bigger than me," said Parker. "I think it's bigger than all of us."

"The Birth of a Nation" first debuted in January at the Sundance Film Festival where it was hailed as an antidote to the then-raging "OscarsSoWhite" backlash. Parker's film immediately sparked widespread Oscar expectations and a bidding war among distributors. Fox Searchlight, an Academy Awards regular, landed it for a festival record $17.5 million, with the assurance of a nation-wide release. It's to open in theaters next Friday.

But the newfound attention on Parker put a spotlight on a rape case from when he was a sophomore and wrestler at Penn State University. Parker was acquitted, though his college roommate, Celestin (who has a story credit on "The Birth of a Nation") was initially found guilty of sexual assault. That conviction was later overturned when the accuser declined to testify for a retrial.

Parker and Celestin allegedly harassed the accuser on campus. The incident spawned a successful civil lawsuit by the woman against the college. But the accuser, after several previous attempts, committed suicide in 2012. Her brother, identified only as Johnny, told The Hollywood Reporter that the rape case "was obviously that point" at which she changed.

Her sister said Thursday that she's particularly pained by the inclusion of a fictional rape scene in "The Birth of a Nation."

"Given what happened to my sister, and how no one was held accountable for it, I find this invention self-serving and sinister, and I take it as a cruel insult to my sister's memory," she wrote in the column in Variety. "I think it's important for people to know Nat Turner's story. But people should know that Turner did not need rape to justify what he did."

In recent weeks, Parker has sought to deflect attention away from himself. At a closely watched press conference at the Toronto International Film Festival earlier in September, Parker deflected questions about the case.

"I would encourage everyone to remember, personal life aside, I'm just one person," said Parker.

___

AP entertainment writer Sandy Cohen in Los Angeles contributed to this story.

.

Nate Parker unapologetic in '60 Minutes' interview

In an interview with "60 Minutes," Nate Parker was unapologetic for a 17-year-old rape case that has surrounded his film, "The Birth of a Nation."

In excerpts from the interview to air Sunday shared exclusively with The Associated Press on Thursday, Parker said he was "falsely accused" and declined to make any apology. The woman who made the accusation killed herself in 2012.

Her sister, Sharon Loeffler, published a column in the trade paper Variety on Thursday, blasting Parker and "Nation" collaborator Jean Celestin for their role in her sister's life and for including a fictional rape scene in their film.

Loeffler said she was very close to her sister and feels "a duty to speak on her behalf." ''Nate Parker caused her so much pain, and that pain and anger are still raw for me," she writes.

Parker maintains in the "60 Minutes" interview that the accusations were unwarranted.

"I was falsely accused ... I went to court ... I was vindicated," he says. "I feel terrible that this woman isn't here ... Her family had to deal with that, but as I sit here, an apology is — no."

In the interview, Anderson Cooper presses Parker on whether he did something morally wrong.

"As a Christian man ... just being in that situation, yeah, sure," says Parker. "I am 36 years old right now ... my faith is very important to me ... so looking back through that lens ... it's not the lens I had when I was 19 years old."

Parker, who stars in, directed, co-wrote and co-produced "The Birth of a Nation," instead argued that his film, about Nat Turner's slave rebellion, deserves more attention than himself and the rape accusation, made when he was a student at Penn State. Parker was acquitted in the case.

"I think that Nat Turner, as a hero, what he did in history, is bigger than me," said Parker. "I think it's bigger than all of us."

"The Birth of a Nation" first debuted in January at the Sundance Film Festival where it was hailed as an antidote to the then-raging "OscarsSoWhite" backlash. Parker's film immediately sparked widespread Oscar expectations and a bidding war among distributors. Fox Searchlight, an Academy Awards regular, landed it for a festival record $17.5 million, with the assurance of a nation-wide release. It's to open in theaters next Friday.

But the newfound attention on Parker put a spotlight on a rape case from when he was a sophomore and wrestler at Penn State University. Parker was acquitted, though his college roommate, Celestin (who has a story credit on "The Birth of a Nation") was initially found guilty of sexual assault. That conviction was later overturned when the accuser declined to testify for a retrial.

Parker and Celestin allegedly harassed the accuser on campus. The incident spawned a successful civil lawsuit by the woman against the college. But the accuser, after several previous attempts, committed suicide in 2012. Her brother, identified only as Johnny, told The Hollywood Reporter that the rape case "was obviously that point" at which she changed.

Her sister said Thursday that she's particularly pained by the inclusion of a fictional rape scene in "The Birth of a Nation."

"Given what happened to my sister, and how no one was held accountable for it, I find this invention self-serving and sinister, and I take it as a cruel insult to my sister's memory," she wrote in the column in Variety. "I think it's important for people to know Nat Turner's story. But people should know that Turner did not need rape to justify what he did."

In recent weeks, Parker has sought to deflect attention away from himself. At a closely watched press conference at the Toronto International Film Festival earlier in September, Parker deflected questions about the case.

"I would encourage everyone to remember, personal life aside, I'm just one person," said Parker.

___

AP entertainment writer Sandy Cohen in Los Angeles contributed to this story.

.

Grammy winner Mario Winans pleads guilty in income tax case

Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter and producer Mario Winans has admitted he intentionally failed to file federal income tax returns for several years.

Winans, a member of the Winans family, best known for its gospel music artists, faces two years in prison and a $200,000 fine after pleading guilty Thursday to charges he willfully failed to file tax returns from 2008-2012, federal prosecutors said. He's scheduled for sentencing in January.

Winans, who is 42 years old and is from Fort Lee, is the singer of "I Don't Wanna Know." He has worked with artists including R. Kelly, Mary J. Blige, Jennifer Lopez, Brian McKnight and the Notorious B.I.G.

He was nominated for his first Grammy Award in 2005 for Best Contemporary R&B Album with "Hurt No More." He won his first Grammy a year later in the Best Gospel Performance category as writer/producer of "Pray," performed by his aunt CeCe Winans.

Prosecutors say he earned more than $2.8 million during the years he didn't file his tax returns. He must pay the IRS more than $400,000.

Winans said he had received royalty payments from checks to two companies he controlled. He has produced songs and albums for R&B, hip-hop and dance music artists, including several on the Bad Boy record label.

An attorney for Winans said he understands he made a mistake and wants to make things right.

Grammy winner Mario Winans pleads guilty in income tax case

Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter and producer Mario Winans has admitted he intentionally failed to file federal income tax returns for several years.

Winans, a member of the Winans family, best known for its gospel music artists, faces two years in prison and a $200,000 fine after pleading guilty Thursday to charges he willfully failed to file tax returns from 2008-2012, federal prosecutors said. He's scheduled for sentencing in January.

Winans, who is 42 years old and is from Fort Lee, is the singer of "I Don't Wanna Know." He has worked with artists including R. Kelly, Mary J. Blige, Jennifer Lopez, Brian McKnight and the Notorious B.I.G.

He was nominated for his first Grammy Award in 2005 for Best Contemporary R&B Album with "Hurt No More." He won his first Grammy a year later in the Best Gospel Performance category as writer/producer of "Pray," performed by his aunt CeCe Winans.

Prosecutors say he earned more than $2.8 million during the years he didn't file his tax returns. He must pay the IRS more than $400,000.

Winans said he had received royalty payments from checks to two companies he controlled. He has produced songs and albums for R&B, hip-hop and dance music artists, including several on the Bad Boy record label.

An attorney for Winans said he understands he made a mistake and wants to make things right.

Internet star Grumpy Cat to join a Broadway show _ 'Cats'

Life will imitate art — or is it the other way around? — when internet sensation Grumpy Cat joins the cast of the Broadway musical "Cats" on Friday for what will likely be a feline-good moment.

The kitty with the comical frown and feline dwarfism "will be worked into the end of the show and will become an honorary Jellicle Cat," according to a spokesman for the show.

Grumpy Cat has become an online phenomenon with 8.7 million Facebook followers and a career selling books, T-shirts, mugs and cat food. She's been in commercials for cereal and fast-food restaurants.

She'll likely be at home at the Neil Simon Theatre, where Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical returned this summer with a cast hissing loudly while wearing legwarmers and spiked hair.

'Mrs. Doubtfire' house hits the market for $4.5 million

Real estate shoppers who are willing to shell out $4.45 million can now purchase a piece of entertainment history. 

>> Read more trending stories  

The San Francisco home featured in "Mrs. Doubtfire" hit the market with a multi-million dollar price tag this week.

The home, featured in the 1993 film starring Robin Williams, is located at 2640 Steiner Street. It was the site of a memorial for the Bay Area-based actor after he committed suicide in Aug. 2014, and it remains an "unofficial memorial," according to KGO-TV.

The three-story Victorian house has four bedrooms, three-and-a-half bathrooms and sits overlooking the San Francisco Bay. It also features a marble bath tub and two-person shower, "garden/patio for al fresco enjoyment," an office/family room, foyer, a remodeled kitchen, space for a personal gym and a multi-car garage. According to E! News, "a piece of the garage actually lifts your car up into the air so you can park a second one under it."

"Because it's built on a wide corner lot, the public rooms are large-scale and the home has an open feel," said listing agent Steven Gothelf of Pacific Union Christie's International. 

The home, built in 1893, is approximately 3,300 square feet.

The current owner, Douglas Ousterhout, is a surgeon who has specialized in facial feminization surgery for transgender patients. He purchased the home in 1997 for $1.395 million, according to the San Francisco Gate. The Gate reported that Ousterhout is selling the home to retire in the wine country.

See more at 2640steiner.com.

Goo Goo Dolls

Goo Goo Dolls 

Listen to Magic 105.3 Monday-Friday at 6:05am to win a pair of tickets to see the Goo Goo Dolls, December 6th at the Aztec Theatre! 

Tickets on sale now at all Ticketmaster Outlets!

Red Hot Chili Peppers

Secret Celebrity 

Red Hot Chili Peppers 

Listen to Magic 105.3 Monday-Friday at 7:20am to win a pair of tickets, to see the Red Hot Chili Peppers, January 5th at the AT&T Center! 

Tickets on sale now at all Ticketmaster Outlets!

Janet Jackson debuts apparent baby bump in London

Months after saying she was planning a family, Janet Jackson has been spotted sporting an apparent baby bump.

The 50-year-old singer announced in April that she was postponing her tour because she planning a family with husband Wissam Al Mana, saying she was on "doctor's orders" to rest.

Pictures published online by Entertainment Tonight show Jackson leaving a baby-furniture store in London.

Jackson's brother, Tito, confirmed his sister's pregnancy in an interview with SiriusXM's Andy Cohen in June. The baby will be Jackson's first.

Ed Harris digs into the mystery of 'Westworld' and loves it

The anything-goes getaway called Westworld doesn't really exist, and, if it did, you couldn't hope to afford this top-notch pleasure park.

Fortunately, HBO has brought it to your favorite screen in the mind-blowing "Westworld," which will treat you to its all-inclusive delights — as well as their sinister underpinnings — for the simple cost of your HBO subscription. (The 10-episode season premieres Sunday at 9 p.m. EDT.)

Think of Westworld as a dude ranch gone wild. Its guests ("newcomers") interact with lifelike androids ("hosts") with no restrictions or consequences — sexually, violently or any Old West way. It's a futuristic free pass for every patron's fantasy, depraved or benign.

That's the intoxicating promise, at least. But behind the scenes, its high-tech wizardry, advanced robotics and beyond-breathtaking artificial intelligence are suddenly besieged by worrisome glitches. Hosts, out of whack, are starting to push back.

Meanwhile, an oft-returning newcomer, identified only as the Man in Black, arrives for his latest visit with something more in mind than routine mega-self-indulgence. He aims to crack the overarching mystery that Westworld represents for him, which seems nothing less than the nature of consciousness, the limits of free will, and what it means to be human.

The hefty "Westworld" cast includes Anthony Hopkins, Evan Rachel Wood, James Marsden, Thandie Newton and Jeffrey Wright, as well as Ed Harris, who, as the Man in Black, is a study in unapologetic villainy.

"I like playing this guy," says Harris with a grin. "He's not trying to escape from anything, he's on a mission of discovery. He's not trying to forget his life, he's trying to learn more about himself — and about what's going on in the park, where he's been coming for 30 years."

At 65, Harris, meeting a reporter in a Beverly Hills hotel suite, exhibits the sturdy build and plainspoken manner (not to mention jeans, weathered boots and work shirt) of a fellow who feels at home on the range. But across his broad sweep of film roles, he has tackled all manner of manliness. Who else could have played John Glenn and John McCain; Jackson Pollock and Beethoven?

He recalls how, in an early conversation with Jonathan Nolan, a co-creator of "Westworld" (which was inspired by the 1973 film), "We discussed what they were after on an intellectual, kind of metaphysical level — which is not where I live.

"But he made me understand how serious he was about his vision for this thing. And that, by itself, matters to me — working with people who have passion about what they're doing and want you to be a part of it."

Harris' "Westworld" character, and the underlying premise, may remind some viewers of "The Truman Show." In that 1998 film, he played the beret-sporting Christof, executive producer of a round-the-clock telecast whose hapless star, played by Jim Carrey, was as oblivious to his ginned-up circumstances as the Westworld hosts are here. Numbering some 2,000, they have no idea (at least, not at first) that they aren't "real" and that they exist solely to serve Westworld's paying customers.

"There's a deeper level to this game," declares the Man in Black. He's right. But any clues to that were shared with Harris by the producers strictly on a need-to-know basis.

"Beforehand, they told me enough to understand what kind of life my character had in the outside world and why he was coming to this park," Harris says. "But then you get the script for Episode 7, say, and" — with voiced a trace of sarcasm — "you're going, 'Oh! Thanks for telling me, man! I didn't realize THAT about myself!'"

Maybe it's a bridled way to function for an actor who treats his profession as "a way of life, a way of being in the world. Everything you see, every person you come in contact with, it all feeds into what you do creatively," he says.

That could help account for why he often opts for challenging, ambitious roles in films he knows will be a long shot at the box office.

He cites his 2006 biopic "Copying Beethoven," in which he depicted the immortal composer, as "not the greatest film in the world, but there's some pretty cool stuff there." Yet seemingly a moment after opening in theaters, "Boom! It was gone."

Harris isn't bellyaching, just laying it out.

"That's one of the reasons I said I would do 'Westworld,'" he explains. "I knew it was very important to HBO and would be done in a certain classy way, and I knew they would promote the (crap) out of it. I thought it might be kind of fun to be in something people actually see."

Seeing it, they are sure to share his enchantment with the Man in Black's mission.

"This," Harris says, "could easily become the thing I'm most known for."

_____

EDITOR'S NOTE — Frazier Moore is a national television columnist for The Associated Press. He can be reached at fmoore@ap.org and at http://www.twitter.com/tvfrazier. Past stories are available at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/frazier-moore

_____

Online:

http://www.hbo.com/westworld

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