Since October, there have been many conversations by famous people about the awful creeps of Hollywood. The vast majority being that time’s up on their awful creep behavior. But lurking behind the corner of some of those conversations have been questions like: “But what about that Roman Polanski petition you signed…“. Natalie Portman wants to be excluded from that narrative from here on out, because she’s sorry she ever signed it.
In 2009, Roman Polanski was arrested in Switzerland after being on the run ever since pleading guilty to the rape of a minor in 1977. A few days later, more than 100 actors, directors, and producers signed a petition demanding his immediate release. Natalie Portman signed that petition. She’s also been very vocal about her support of the Time’s Up movement. While speaking to BuzzFeed about her new film (and additional source of interview awkwardness for her) Annihilation, Natalie said she doesn’t feel the same way about Roman Polanski as she did almost ten years ago.
“I very much regret it. I take responsibility for not thinking about it enough. 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 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.”
Natalie was also asked about Woody Allen. Natalie worked with Woody on 1996’s Everyone Says I Love You. And while she wouldn’t say the words “I won’t ever work with him again,” she makes it pretty clear she isn’t going to be crying if he never works again.
“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…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.”
Admitting she didn’t do enough research is literally Natalie’s only excuse for signing that petition. Forget for a second that Roman Polanski’s reputation was kind of common knowledge. I could see how difficult it might have been to research both sides previous to 2009. You’ve got to walk to the library, pay for computer time, ask your friend Jeeves, cross check his info with an encyclopedia published after 1977. But 2009? That petition was signed three months after the iPhone 3 was released. Signing that petition without doing an on-the-spot internet search first was just lazy.