UPDATE: Natalie Portman has issued a response to Rose McGowan‘s criticism of her Oscars look.
“I agree with Ms. McGowan that it is inaccurate to call me ‘brave’ for wearing a garment with women’s names on it,” Portman said in a statement obtained by E! News. “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 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.”
“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. I’ve made shorts, commercials, music videos and features with Marya Cohen, Mira Nair, Rebecca Zlotowski, Anna Rose Holmer, Sofia Coppola, Shirin Neshat and myself.”
“Unfortunately, the unmade films I have tried to make are a ghost history.”
“As Stacy Smith of USC has well documented, female films have been incredibly hard to get made at studios, or to get independently financed. If these films do get made, women face enormous challenges during the making of them. 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.”
“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.”
Read Rose’s initial take below.
Rose McGowan has some thoughts about Natalie Portman’s Oscars tribute.
On Sunday night, the Black Swan star attended the 2020 Oscars wearing a Dior gown along with a matching cape. The cape had extra meaning to Portman, who has been an advocate of the Time’s Up movement, because it had the names of the female directors snubbed this year by the Academy Awards stitched on it.
While at the ceremony over the weekend, Portman explained the significance of the cape, telling The L.A. Times‘ Amy Kaufman, “I wanted to recognize the women who were not recognized for their incredible work this year in my subtle way.”
In response to Portman’s tribute, McGowan took to Facebook to share her take on the “protest.”
“Some thoughts on Natalie Portman and her Oscar ‘protest.’ The kind of protest that gets rave reviews from the mainstream media for its bravery. Brave? No, not by a long shot,” McGowan began her post. “More like an actress acting the part of someone who cares. As so many of them do.”
McGowan went on to write that she finds 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 said. “I just want her and other actresses to walk the walk.”
McGowan then wrote to Portman directly, “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.”
McGowan further explained why she’s calling out Portman, writing, “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 asked.
“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,” McGowan later wrote. “As for me, I’ll be over here raising my voice and fighting for change without any compensation. That is activism.”
McGowan concluded her post by writing to Portman, “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.”