Amid widespread reports of sexual misconduct in Hollywood, some actors are taking a new look at past circumstances they previously brushed off as inconsequential. On Monday Natalie Portman opened up about her experiences at Vulture Festival L.A.
“I went from thinking ‘I don’t have a story’ to thinking ‘Oh wait, I have 100 stories’,” the actress said during a panel talk at the event. “I think a lot of people are having these reckonings with themselves, of things that we just took for granted as like, this is part of the process,”
Although she’s never been sexually assaulted, the Jackie star realized she’s experienced discrimination and harassment on almost every project she’s worked on, from giving feedback on scripts only to be shot down to being the only women on the set.
Portman recounts an incident that made her “uncomfortable” where a producer invited her to fly with him and his company since they were heading in the same direction. She took him up on his offer, only to find out it would be just him and her flying when she showed up for departure. The situation worsened when she realized there was only one made bed on the airplane.
“That was really unacceptable and manipulative and could have been—I was scared, you know?” said Portman. “But just the fact of any woman, if you’re walking down the street alone at night, you feel scared, and I’m not sure guys know what that [feels like].”
She said that rampant sexual discrimination and harassment led to her passing on work or roles. She also said that movie critics called the actress “a Lolita” among other things, reflecting on how these missed opportunities impacted her mentally.
“When you’re defensive as a woman against being looked at that way, that you’re like, ‘I don’t want to’—what do we close off of ourselves or diminish in ourselves because we want to protect ourselves?””