Natalie Portman has spoken out about her past experiences with sexual harassment in Hollywood, saying she has “100 stories.”
The actress has been a prominent part of the Time’s Up initiative, which was launched in January by over 300 women working in the entertainment industry.
In an interview with Porter magazine, Portman said the movement made her re-evaluate her own experiences.
“I went from thinking, ‘I don’t have a story’ to ‘Oh, wait, I have 100 stories,'” she said. “And I think a lot of people are having these reckonings with themselves, of things that we just took for granted as, like, this part of the process.”
Portman shared a story about an encounter with an unnamed producer on a private plane, saying: “It was just the two of us, and only one bed was made up. 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.”
She praised the people who have come forward to speak about their own experiences of sexual harassment and stressed that it’s the job of the industry to pay attention to the Time’s Up movement in order to help create lasting changes.
“I think it’s really important to recognize all the people who have come forward,” she said. “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 colour, so it’s very important the industry listens.”
Portman gave a speech at the Women’s March in Los Angeles last month. She spoke about being sexualized as an actress from a young age.
She spoke about a response to her role in the 1994 film The Professional.
“I was so excited at 13 when the film was released and my work and my art would have a human response. I excitedly opened my first fan mail to read a rape fantasy that a man had written me,” she said. “A countdown was started on my local radio show to my 18th birthday, euphemistically the date that I would be legal to sleep with. Movie reviewers talked about my budding breasts in their reviews. I understood very quickly, even as a 13-year-old, that if I were to express myself sexually, I would feel unsafe. And that men would feel entitled to discuss and objectify my body, to my great discomfort.”