Living with regret. Natalie Portman admitted that she made a mistake when she signed a petition to release Roman Polanski from Swiss custody in 2009 after he was arrested for an old warrant relating to the rape of a 13-year-old girl.
“I very much regret it. I take responsibility for not thinking about it enough,” Portman began in an interview with Buzzfeed on Tuesday, February 20. “Someone I respected gave it to me, and said, ‘I signed this. Will you, too?’ And I was like, ‘Sure.’”
“It was a mistake,” the 36-year-old Oscar winner continued. “The thing I feel like I gained from it is empathy towards people who have made mistakes. We lived in a different world, and that doesn’t excuse anything. But you can have your eyes opened and completely change the way you want to live. My eyes were not open.”
The Guardian previously reported in 2009 that the aforementioned petition was signed by many famous faces in Hollywood including Martin Scorsese, David Lynch and Darren Aronofsky, and demanded “the immediate release” of the director after he was arrested for a then-decades old warrant related to his rape case. (Polanski pleaded guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor in 1977, but fled the United States before his sentencing.)
Portman also opened up about working with Woody Allen, who has previously been accused of sexual assault, and her involvement in the Time’s Up movement.
“I don’t think that’s what the conversation should be about,” she said about Allen. “I think it should be about: Why didn’t Elaine May make a movie every year? Why didn’t Nora Ephron make a movie every year? Where’s the female version of Bill Cosby? Why don’t we see any Asian women in films? There’s so much art that’s being lost by not giving opportunities to women and people of color.”
“Let’s not talk about what man’s career is over. Let’s talk about the vast art trove we’ve lost by not giving women, people of color, people with disabilities, and the LGBTQ+ community opportunities — let’s talk about that loss for all of us in art,” she continued. “Let’s talk about that huge hole in our culture. I don’t want talk about ‘Isn’t it sad that this person who’s made 500 movies can’t make movies anymore?’ That’s not for me to decide. And it’s also not what I’m upset about.”
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