She calls Portman “part of the problem” with her “fake support of other women.”
“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 continued. “As for me, I’ll be over here raising my voice and fighting for change without any compensation. That is activism. 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.”
McGowan continued in her post, “I was at a Women in Film event that you spoke at once, Natalie. You reeled off depressing statistics and then we all went back to our salads. I quickly realized you and the other women speakers (and that joke of an organization) are just… frauds. You say nothing, you do nothing.”
Portman responded with a statement of her own, per The Hollywood Reporter. “I agree with Ms. McGowan that it is inaccurate to call me ‘brave’ for wearing a garment with women’s names on it. ‘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,” she said.
She also acknowledged the fact that she has not worked with a huge number of female directors over the course of her career. “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,” Portman said. “Unfortunately, the unmade films I have tried to make are a ghost history.”
But, she says, that doesn’t account for all the projects that never went forward. “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,” she said. “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.”
Director Marielle Heller said hers was one of those projects Portman is referencing.
Rose McGowan has not commented on Natalie Portman’s statement.