In an act of celebrity diplomacy, Natalie Portman has apologized for a comment she made earlier this week while doing publicity for her forthcoming film Vox Lux, in which she plays a pop star.
Here’s the apparently contentious section of her USA Today interview:
“But [Portman] also remembers the virgin/vixen paradigms lobbed by the music industry as the millennium neared. ‘I remember being a teenager, and there was Jessica Simpson on the cover of a magazine saying ‘I’m a virgin’ while wearing a bikini, and I was confused. Like, I don’t know what this is trying to tell me as a woman, as a girl,’ she says.”
Shortly after the article came out, Simpson made her displeasure known, addressing Portman on Instagram:
“I was disappointed this morning when I read that I ‘confused’ you by wearing a bikini in a published photo taken of me when I was still a virgin in 1999. As public figures, we both know our image is not totally in our control at all times, and that the industry we work in often tries to define us and box us in. However, I was taught to be myself and honor the different ways all women express themselves, which is why I believed then—and I believe now—that being sexy in a bikini and being proud of my body are not synonymous with having sex.”
Portman responded to Simpson on Thursday, telling Entertainment Tonight:
“I would never intend to shame anybody and that was absolutely not my intention. I was really talking about mixed media messages out there for young women and completely apologize for any hurt it may have caused because that was definitely not my intention.... It is a mistake to say anyone’s name. I could have made my message without naming.”
To my eye there wasn’t anything in Portman’s original quote that was shaming or blaming Simpson. But it’s a safe bet that every celebrity has a manager who knows how to use Google Alerts.
Ina Garten and Jennifer Garner at the Costa Mesa, California In-N-Out celebrating the close of Garten’s cookbook tour for Cook Like a Pro.
Work that platform, Jonathan.
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