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Natalie Portman said that while she’s never been assaulted during her acting career, she has plenty of stories of harassment and sexism.
Speaking at Vulture Fest LA on Sunday, the star said that when all of the sexual misconduct accusations starting spreading, she felt grateful she didn’t have a story of her own.
“And then, on reflection, I was like, okay, 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, according to the outlet.
“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,” she continued.
She gave an example of being invited by a producer to fly on his private plane, expecting other people to be on the flight.
“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,” she said. “I said: ‘This doesn’t make me feel comfortable,’ and that was respected. But that was super not okay, you know? That was really unacceptable and manipulative and could have been — I was scared, you know?”
She spoke to how, as a young actress, she was worried about being sexualized or objectified if she did too many “kissing scenes, sexual scenes,” because early on in her career, people would call her “a Lolita and things like that, and I got so scared by it.”
“And I think that’s also got to be part of our conversation now: When you’re defensive as a woman against being looked at that way, that you’re like, ‘I don’t want to’ — what do we close off of ourselves or diminish in ourselves because we want to protect ourselves?” she asked.
Portman went on to discuss how film sets are so often male-dominated, adding that “It’s very rare to have female crew members apart from hair, makeup, and wardrobe — the very stereotypical departments for women to be in — and I think women experience this in a lot of industries.”
She said a director once told her “You’re exhausting,” for voicing her opinion in a meeting, when male actors in the same meeting weren’t treated the same way. “To the point where one of the male actors I was working with stood up for me in that meeting, because he said, ‘You know, you’re completely not listening to her and you’re completely listening to me and we’re saying almost the same thing.”