Actress Natalie Portman says she regrets signing a Hollywood petition demanding the release of French-Polish film director Roman Polanski from Swiss custody.
Nine years after signing the petition, she has expressed regret for supporting the filmmaker, who pleaded guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor in 1977.
“I very much regret it. I take responsibility for not thinking about it enough. Someone I respected gave it to me, and said, ‘I signed this. Will you, too?’ And I was like, ‘Sure’,” Portman said in an interview with Buzzfeed News on Tuesday, reports hollywoodreporter.com.
The petition, made public in September 2009, demanded “the immediate release of Roman Polanski” after the filmmaker was detained days earlier in Switzerland on a warrant for his 1977 underage sex case in the US, which he fled before sentencing.
Over 100 figures in the film industry signed, including Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen, Wim Wenders, Tilda Swinton and Wong Kar Wai.
Portman, who has become an outspoken representative of the Time’s Up initiative since the fall and spoke at the 2018 Los Angeles Women’s March, says she signed the petition out a mistaken sense of empathy.
“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.”
Portman has previously said that she has “100 stories” of sexual harassment in Hollywood, though she has specified that she was never assaulted.