Oscar-winning actress Natalie Portman said she has had “discrimination or harassment on almost everything I’ve ever worked on in some way.”
Portman was asked about the many sexual harassment and abuse allegations coming out of Hollywood in recent weeks during her talk at Vulture Festival L.A. this week.
“When I heard everything coming out, I was like, wow, I’m so lucky that I haven’t had this. And then, on reflection, I was like, OK, definitely never been assaulted, definitely not, but I’ve had discrimination or harassment on almost everything I’ve ever worked on in some way,” she said.
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“I went from thinking I don’t have a story to thinking, oh wait, I have 100 stories. 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.”
Portman, 36, said a producer invited her to fly with him and his company on a private plane to a place she was also going.
She described the scene: “I showed up and it was just the two of us, and one bed was made on the plane. Nothing happened, I was not assaulted. I said, ‘This doesn’t make me feel comfortable,’ and that was respected. But that was super not OK, you know? That was really unacceptable and manipulative and could have been — I was scared, you know?”
The Israel-born actress said that when she was younger, she turned down work that would lead to her objectification, including kissing and sexual scenes. She said she was scared off by the reviews of her first roles, which called her a “Lolita” and other similar designations.
Portman noted the general lack of women on sets, which creates a feeling of isolation and prevents women from discussing among themselves, and speaking out against sexual harassment and assault that may take place there.
Earlier this month, Portman was named the winner of the 2018 Genesis Prize, the so-called Jewish Nobel, and said the $1 million prize will go to programs that focus on advancing women’s equality. The money will be used for grants to organizations involved in promoting women’s educational opportunities, economic advancement, health and safety, and full participation in policy formulation and political activity.
A significant portion of the funds will go to programs advancing women’s equality in Israel, according to the Genesis Foundation.
Portman won an Academy Award for her role in “Black Swan” in 2010.