Natalie Portman Is Sorry About Signing a Petition in Support of Roman Polanski Nearly a Decade Ago

Photo: AP
Photo: AP

Remember, every mistake is a chance to learn empathy for people who make mistakes.


On Tuesday, in a wide-ranging interview with Buzzfeed News, Natalie Portman expressed regret for having signed a petition in support of director Roman Polanksi in 2009.

“I very much regret it. I take responsibility for not thinking about it enough,” said Portman. She continued:

“Someone I respected gave it to me, and said, ‘I signed this. Will you, too?’ And I was like, ‘Sure.’ It was a mistake. The thing I feel like I gained from it is empathy towards people who have made mistakes. We lived in a different world, and that doesn’t excuse anything. But you can have your eyes opened and completely change the way you want to live. My eyes were not open.”

The petition demanded the immediate release of Polanksi, who was being detained in Switzerland on a warrant related to his 1977 underage sex case (he pled guilty at that time to having sex with a minor). According to The Hollywood Reporter, more than 100 filmmakers and actors—including Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen, Wim Wenders, Tilda Swinton and Wong Kar Wai—signed the petition.


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Illustration for article titled Natalie Portman Is Sorry About Signing a Petition in Support of Roman Polanski Nearly a Decade Ago


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contributing writer, nights



I remember when that petition was making the rounds. I did something completely crazy at the time - because I didn’t know the exact details of the case - I actually READ both Polanski’s confession and the victim’s statement before expressing an opinion. Nuts, right? I mean who has 10 minutes to spare?

Debra Winger, Marty Scorsese, Tilda Swinton, Pedro Almodovar, David Lynch, etc., I have one simple question: WTF were you thinking? At least Natalie offered a half-assed apology. Seriously, try doing a little research before signing a petition defending a child rapist. It was very easy to find the confession via Google. You don’t share any responsibility for this man’s crimes (obviously), but you are responsible for your own piss poor judgement.

And to all the creeps who will inevitably say: “But she forgave him!” So what. That says a great deal about what kind of person SHE became. It says ZERO about Pokanski either then or now. The victim has never stopped insisting that her version of events was true. And Polanski’s confession actually matches in most places with her statement. He admits to most of it.

Her forgiveness doesn’t somehow negate his crime or the years he spent manipulating and committing statutory rape with multiple other girls aged 14-16. Fuck Polanski and the “intellectuals” who defend him. His art is not more important than the lives he exploited.