Natalie Portman, who last month spoke of the “sexual terrorism” she began experiencing in the industry at age 13, has revealed a specific instance of inappropriate behavior in her professional life.
Speaking in the context of the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements, Portman, 36, says in the new issue of Porter magazine, “I went from thinking, ‘I don’t have a story’ to ‘Oh, wait, I have 100 stories,’ ” according to People’s report of the interview. “And I think a lot of people are having these reckonings with themselves, of things that we just took for granted as like, this is part of the process.”
In one case, an unnamed producer invited her aboard his private plane, where, she said, “It was just the two of us, and only one bed was made up.” She added, “Nothing happened, I was not assaulted. I did make a point of saying, ‘This does not make me feel comfortable,’ and that was respected. But that was super not OK, you know? That was really unacceptable and manipulative. I was scared.”
The “Annihilation” star, who was raised primarily in Jericho and graduated from Syosset High School in 1999, told Porter, “I think it’s really important to recognize all the people who have come forward,” according to the U.K. newspaper The Daily Telegraph. “They have created this cultural shift. A lot of people have been speaking out for a long time and not been heard, particularly women of color, so it’s very important the industry listens.”
The Oscar-winning actress told a crowd at the Women’s March in Los Angeles on Jan. 20 that at 13, following the release of her first feature, “Léon: The Professional,” her first fan letter was a “rape fantasy” from a man.
“At 13 years old, the message from our culture was clear to me,” she said. “I felt the need to cover my body and to inhibit my expression and my work in order to send my own message to the world that I’m someone worthy of safety and respect. The response to my expression, from small comments about my body to more threatening deliberate statements, served to control my behavior through an environment of sexual terrorism.”