She may have been very young at the time she filmed Beautiful Girls for Harvey Weinstein, but Academy Award-winning actress Natalie Portman told CBS This Morning how it felt to hear about Weinstein’s alleged sexual misconduct from her co-stars, Uma Thurman, Lauren Holly, and Mira Sorvino, on the 1996 Miramax movie.
“When so many of those women came forward, it was crazy to think I was 13 years old on a set where I – all the women around me were being really, really hurt. And I was lucky to be oblivious to that, but it was, I think, such a big wakeup call, of course, for all of us. Yes, I’m glad that there’s consequences, but unfortunately, I wish it just didn’t happen and hopefully the consequences will prevent and deter other people from abusing their power,” she said.
In May, Harvey Weinstein was charged in a New York court with rape in the first and third degrees, as well as criminal sexual act in the first degree. He has repeatedly denied any nonconsensual sexual encounters even as more and more alleged victims have come forward to share their stories. Portman was one of the actors behind the Times Up initiative, as reported by Time, and gave a rousing speech at the Los Angeles Women’s March last January. She detailed the “environment of sexual terrorism” she endured in her youth that impacted the trajectory of her career.
In the speech, Portman shared that she experienced sexual harassment at the age of 13 when her first film, 1994’s Léon: The Professional, came out. That’s because her very first piece of fan mail was a rape fantasy written by a man. She also said that her local radio show created a countdown to her 18th birthday, “euphemistically,” she told the crowd of 500,000 people, “the date that I would be legal to sleep with.” Not only that, in movie reviews, the writers would mention her “budding breasts.”
“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,” she said. The talented actress/director/producer has been drawing attention to the lack of female directors as well. At the Golden Globes, she was announcing the Best Director category and noted, “And here are the all-male nominees.” Portman was on CBS This Morning to discuss her documentary, Eating Animals, in which she produces and stars.