Natalie Portman has responded to Rose McGowan‘s comments about her Oscars cape after the Charmed actress accused her of “acting the part of a woman who cares about other women.”
At the 92nd Academy Awards, Portman wore a custom Dior cape embroidered with the names of this year’s notably snubbed female directors, including Lulu Wang of The Farewell, Lorene Scafaria of Hustlers, and Céline Sciamma of Portrait of a Lady on Fire.
“I wanted to recognise the women who were not recognised for their incredible work this year in a subtle way,” Portman told reporters on the red carpet.
On Wednesday in a post on her Facebook page, McGowan criticised Portman and the reaction she received for wearing the cape.
“Some thoughts on Natalie Portman and her Oscar ‘protest’. The kind of protest that gets rave reviews from the mainstream media for its bravery. Brave? No, not by a long shot,” she wrote.
“I find Portman’s type of activism deeply offensive to those of us who actually do the work. I’m not writing this out of bitterness, I am writing out of disgust.
“I just want her and other actresses to walk the walk,” she wrote.
Addressing her directly, McGowan claimed Portman has only worked with two female directors in her 27-year career, which includes her own directorial debut A Tale of Love and Darkness.
“What is it with actresses of your ilk? You ‘A-Listers’ could change the world if you’d take a stand instead of being the problem. Yes, you Natalie. You are the problem. Lip service is the problem. Fake support of other women is the problem,” she wrote.
In a statement issued this morning to Variety, Portman said she agrees her decision to wear the cape wasn’t “brave”.
“It is inaccurate to call me ‘brave’ for wearing a garment with women’s name on it,” she said. “Brave is a term I more strongly associate with actions like those of the women who have been testifying against Harvey Weinstein the last few weeks, under incredible pressure.”
McGowan accused disgraced filmmaker Weinstein of raping her at the 1997 Sundance Film Festival.
Portman said that it’s true she has only worked with a few female directors throughout her career, including in film and other projects.
“I’ve made shorts, commercials, music videos, and features with Marya Cohen, Mira Nair, Rebecca Zlotowski, Anna Rose Holmer, Sofia Coppola, Shirin Neshat, and myself. Unfortunately, the unmade films I have tried to make are a ghost history.”
Portman said she hoped the film industry would begin to offer more opportunities to female directors, but said that it’s harder for female filmmakers to get their projects off the ground.
“If these films do get made, women face enormous challenges during the making of them,” Portman said. “I have had the experience a few times of helping get female directors hired on projects which they were then forced out of because of the conditions they faced at work.
“After they are made, female-directed films face difficulty getting into festivals, getting into distribution, and getting accolades because of the gatekeepers at every level. So I want to say, I have tried, and I will keep trying. While I have yet been successful, I am hopeful that we are stepping into a new day.”