Natalie Portman On Her 2009 Support Of Roman Polanski: “I Very Much Regret It”

by Elizabeth F. Olson

In a BuzzFeed interview published yesterday, Natalie Portman expressed regret for having signed the petition to release Roman Polanski from police detention in 2009. “I made a mistake,” Portman said. “I take responsibility for not thinking about it enough.”

Polanski fled to Europe in 1978 to avoid a 50-year sentence after being arrested for the rape of a 13-year-old girl. When he was finally detained in Switzerland in 2009, Polanski had been living and working in Paris for over 30 years and was traveling to Zurich to receive an award. Over 100 people in the film industry signed a petition asking him to be released, including Tilda Swinton, Penelope Cruz, Woody Allen (obviously), and Natalie Portman.

Recently, Portman has been vocal about sexual assault and harassment in Hollywood and is a fierce supporter of the Time’s Up campaign. When asked how she felt about having signed the 2009 petition, Portman replied, “I very much regret it…. 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.”

Portman also voiced her support for Dylan Farrow in a January conversation with Oprah Winfrey and a handful of other powerful women in Hollywood, including Shonda Rhimes, Tracee Ellis Ross, and America Ferrera. Farrow had tweeted about the Time’s Up movement during the Golden Globes, asking if time was really up for her abuser, Woody Allen. “I believe Dylan,” Portman said when Winfrey asked what the women would say to Farrow now. “I believe you, Dylan.” Asked if she agreed that Time’s Up for Woody Allen, Portman told BuzzFeed, “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.”

top photo: Dior

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