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Since the launch of the #TimesUp movement in January, Natalie Portman has been a staunch supporter and activist, putting herself front and center of the conversation without divulging too much of her personal story. But in a new interview with Porter magazine, the actress explains how the movement pushed her to reflect on her own past experiences with sexual harassment in Hollywood.
“I went from thinking, 'I don't have a story' to 'Oh, wait, I have 100 stories,'" she said, according to Rolling Stone. "And I think a lot of people are having these reckonings with themselves, of things that we just took for granted as, like, this part of the process."
In the interview, she recalls the story of one incident where an unnamed producer made a move on her during a flight on a private plane. "It was just the two of us, and only one bed was made up," she said. "Nothing happened, I was not assaulted. I did make a point of saying, 'This does not make me feel comfortable,' and that was respected. But that was super not OK, you know? That was really unacceptable and manipulative. I was scared."
At the Women’s March in Los Angeles last month, Portman gave a speech where she opened up about being sexualized as an actress from a young age. She spoke about a horrifying response to her role in the 1994 film The Professional. “I was so excited at 13 when the film was released and my work and my art would have a human response. I excitedly opened my first fan mail to read a rape fantasy that a man had written me,” she said. “A countdown was started on my local radio show to my 18th birthday, euphemistically the date that I would be legal to sleep with. Movie reviewers talked about my budding breasts in their reviews. I understood very quickly, even as a 13-year-old, that if I were to express myself sexually, I would feel unsafe. And that men would feel entitled to discuss and objectify my body, to my great discomfort.”
Portman stressed in this new interview that it’s the job of the industry to pay attention to the #TimesUp movement in order to affect lasting change. “A lot of people have been speaking out for a long time and not been heard, particularly women of color," she said. "So, it's very important the industry listens.”