Natalie Portman has responded to criticism from Rose McGowan on the cape Portman wore to the Oscars earlier this month. The cape was embroidered with the names of eight female directors, and Portman wore it as she walked the red carpet before the ceremony. Many praised Portman for highlighting the lack of female directors in the film industry (women represented just 15% of the top 200 films from 2018/19).
But in a lengthy Facebook post two days after the event, McGowan went in on Portman's outfit, saying, "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."
McGowan then called out Portman for her work with female directors, "Natalie, you have worked with two female directors in your very long career- one of them was you. You have a production company that has hired exactly one female director- you."
She continued, "As for me, I’ll be over here raising my voice and fighting for change without any compensation. That is activism... Until you and your fellow actresses get real, do us all a favor and hang up your embroidered activist cloak, it doesn’t hang right."
Natalie has since responded to McGowan's comments with her own statement, saying, "I agree with Ms. McGowan that it is inaccurate to call me "brave" for wearing a garment with women’s names on it. 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."
Portman continued, "The past few years have seen a blossoming of directing opportunities for women due to the collective efforts of many people who have been calling out the system. The gift has been these incredible films. I hope that what was intended as a simple nod to them does not distract from their great achievements."
McGowan hasn't yet commented on Portman's response.
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