Words by Jenny Proudfoot
‘The thing I feel like I gained from it is empathy towards people who have made mistakes’
The past few months in the entertainment industry have seen a wave of actresses come forward with sexual harassment and assault allegations against Hollywood heavyweights, from Harvey Weinstein and Dustin Hoffman to Kevin Spacey and James Franco.
But while the revelations have undoubtedly been painful, they have opened people’s eyes to the extent of sexual abuse, with 36-year-old actress Natalie Portman opening up this week about her regret in supporting shamed director Roman Polanski.
In a recent interview with BuzzFeed, Natalie broke her silence on her past support of the disgraced French film director, who was arrested and charged in 1977 with five sexual offences against 13-year-old Samantha Geimer, admitting to signing a form to discharge him from a Zurich prison while awaiting trial.
‘I very much regret it. I take responsibility for not thinking about it enough,’ Natalie has explained. ‘Someone I respected gave it to me, and said, “I signed this. Will you too?” And I was like, sure. It was a mistake.’
She continued: ‘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.’
And it seems like Natalie isn’t alone, with 54-year-old director Quentin Tarantino speaking out earlier this month to apologise to Polanski’s victim, Samantha Geimer, for not taking her rape allegations seriously.
‘I want to publicly apologise to Samantha Geimer for my cavalier remarks on The Howard Stern Show speculating about her and the crime that was committed against her,’ he explained. ‘Fifteen years later, I realize how wrong I was.’
He continued: ‘Ms. Geimer WAS raped by Roman Polanski. When Howard brought up Polanski, I incorrectly played devil’s advocate in the debate for the sake of being provocative. I didn’t take Ms. Geimer’s feelings into consideration and for that I am truly sorry.’
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