Natalie Portman regrets signing petition in support of Roman Polanski

Ben Arnold

Natalie Portman has admitted that she regrets signing a petition in support of director Roman Polanski.

Portman, who was in her 20s at the time, was among a group of Hollywood stars who petitioned authorities in Switzerland, after they arrested Polanski over the decades-old warrant for his arrest for the rape of a 13-year-old girl in 1977.

The petition, which was also endorsed by Harrison Ford, Penelope Cruz, and Martin Scorsese, pleaded with the Swiss Federal Justice ‘not to turn this brilliant filmmaker into a martyr of a juridico-political imbroglio’.

Polanski was placed under house arrest in Switzerland in December 2009, before his extradition to the US was eventually rejected by the Swiss authorities in July 2010.

“I very much regret it,” she told Buzzfeed.

“I take responsibility for not thinking about it enough. Someone I respected gave it to me, and said, ‘I signed this. Will you too?’ And I was like, ‘Sure.’”

“It was a mistake. 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.”

Polanski fled the US in 1978, after being charged with the rape of then 13-year-old model Samantha Gailey during a photoshoot at Jack Nicholson’s house.

He pleaded guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse in a plea deal, but on hearing word that the deal was to be overturned, and that he could face life in prison, he left the US for Europe.

Portman also spoke about Woody Allen, who has been accused of molesting his adopted daughter Dylan Farrow, having worked with him on the movie Everyone Says I Love You in 1996.

Asked if she thought his career should be over, she said: “I don’t think that’s what the conversation should be about.

“I think it should be about: Why didn’t Elaine May make a movie every year? Why didn’t Nora Ephron make a movie every year? Where’s the female version of Bill Cosby? Why don’t we see any Asian women in films?

“There’s so much art that’s being lost by not giving opportunities to women and people of color. Let’s not talk about what man’s career is over. Let’s talk about the vast art trove we’ve lost by not giving women, people of color, people with disabilities, and the LGBTQ+ community opportunities – let’s talk about that loss for all of us in art. Let’s talk about that huge hole in our culture.”

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