Unlike many who sang praises for Portman's powerful statement on the Oscars red carpet, Rose McGowan thought it was fake.
The 92nd Academy Awards red carpet saw a lot of stars making powerful statements with their glitzy looks. While the iconic Jane Fonda and a few others chose to recycle outfits previously worn to other events and Booksmart star Kaitlyn Dever rode the sustainable fashion train, it was Natalie Portman who turned the most heads with her stunning black and gold ensemble. Taking a subtle dig at the Academy's all-male Best Director nominee list, the V for Vendetta star showed up in an elegant Dior cape featuring the last names of 8 women directors of critically acclaimed 2019 films.
When asked about the intricate embroidery on her cape, Portman responded, "I wanted to recognize the women who were not recognized for their incredible work this year in a subtle way." While many applauded the actress for using her privilege and platform to make such a powerful and important statement, she didn't win any favors with fellow actress and activist Rose McGowan who found the stunt "deeply offensive." In a Facebook post on Tuesday, 46-year-old accused Portman of being in "fake support of other women," asserting that the latter's Oscar protest was "more like an actress acting the part of someone who cares."
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. I just want her and other actresses to walk the walk, McGowan wrote. Addressing the Black Swan star directly, she continued: 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. However, as The Guardian points out, Portman has worked with 2 other women directors in her career: Mira Nair on the short film compilation New York, I Love You and Rebecca Zlotowski on Planetarium.
What is it with actresses of your ilk? You 'A-listers' could change the world if you'd take a stand instead of being the problem. Yes, you, Natalie. You are the problem. Lip service is the problem. Fake support of other women is the problem... What you do affects the world, Natalie. As does what you do not do. I am singling you out because you are the latest in a long line of actresses who are acting the part of a woman who cares about other women. Actresses who supposedly stand for women, but in reality do not do much at all. Of course, women in the world will keep buying the perfumes you promote, the movies you make, and think they're buying into who you are. But who are you? McGowan continued.
After Natalie Portman wore a cape to the #Oscars with the names of the snubbed female directors stitched on it, Rose McGowan had some THOUGHTS in response: "I am writing out of disgust. I just want her and other actresses to walk the walk." https://t.co/Dub390d6ZA pic.twitter.com/XY5EK6AylR— E! News (@enews) February 12, 2020
There is no law that says you need to hire women, work with women, or support women. By all means, you do you. But I am saying stop pretending you're some kind of champion for anything other than yourself. 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, McGowan concluded her tirade.
i believe in natalie portman supremacy pic.twitter.com/O5xFxcVSB9— 𝐞𝐥𝐥𝐞 🧸 (@anldalax) February 10, 2020
Responding to the Scream star's harsh criticism in a statement, Portman clarified that her headline-making cape wasn't just a fashion statement. "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. It is true I’ve only made a few films with women. In my long career, I’ve only gotten the chance to work with female directors a few times... Unfortunately, the unmade films I have tried to make are a ghost history," she said.
For about a decade now Portman has been publicly advocating for women directors. She was rumoured to have pushed for Patty Jenkins in Thor 2 and been really upset when that didn't pan out:https://t.co/FNq3ieOV3Y— Women Film Directors (@women_direct) February 12, 2020
Portman's also worked with Marya Cohn, Shirin Neshat, Mira Nair and Anna Rose Holmer on short films and music videos.— Women Film Directors (@women_direct) February 12, 2020
I don't know why she struggles to make features with women directors but she's very definitely trying.
One more Natalie Portman note! I forgot that she was initially supposed to play Ruth Bader Ginsberg and fought for Mimi Leder to direct. Even though she left the role Leder stayed on with Felicity Jones as Ginsberg.https://t.co/w9Ud4TgsXj pic.twitter.com/a999N2FkvU— Women Film Directors (@women_direct) February 12, 2020
"I have had the experience a few times of helping get female directors hired on projects which they were then forced out of because of the conditions they faced at work,” Portman said. “After they are made, female-directed films face difficulty getting into festivals, getting distribution and getting accolades because of the gatekeepers at every level. So I want to say, I have tried, and I will keep trying. While I have not yet been successful, I am hopeful that we are stepping into a new day," the actress promised.