Back in 2009, film industry luminaries signed a petition to release Roman Polanski from a Swiss prison — and now one star is regretting it.
The filmmaker had been detained over a 1977 underage sex case from the U.S., which he plead guilty to. One of the petition’s signatories was Natalie Portman, who told BuzzFeed she “very much” regrets putting her name on 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,” she told the news outlet.
Portman wasn’t the only high-profile signatory. The petition demanding “the immediate release” of Polanski attracted more than 100 signatures, including Wes Anderson, Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen, Tilda Swinton and Wong Kar Wai.
Given Portman’s active involvement in the Time’s Up movement, her signing of the petition came from a misplaced sense of empathy.
“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,” she said.
In the same interview, Portman said she “felt terrible” about accusations of whitewashing in her upcoming film Annihilation. She played Lena, while her co-star Jennifer Jason Leigh played Dr. Ventress, described as being of Asian and Native American background respectively in the novel.
“And it’s really unfortunate, and was a surprise to me for sure. And I think we live in a post-Hamilton world where we don’t even need to think about what’s authentic to the character, like faithful to the character,” Portman said.
“It should just be that everyone can empathize with everyone. And also going against a horrible history of over-seeing white actors and under-seeing otherized people and minorities.”
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