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Natalie Portman Regrets Supporting Roman Polanski: ‘It Was a Mistake. My Eyes Were Not Open’

Portman was one of over 100 actors and directors who signed a 2009 petition in support of Polanksi after he was arrested in Switzerland.

Natalie Portman'Annihilation' film premiere, Arrivals, Los Angeles, USA - 13 Feb 2018

Natalie Portman

Jim Smeal/REX/Shutterstock

After Roman Polanski’s 2009 arrest in Switzerland for the 1977 rape of a 13-year-old girl, more than 100 actors and directors united to release a petition urging for his release. Included among signees like Darren Aronofsky, Tilda Swinton, and David Lynch was none other than Natalie Portman. The actress, who has been at the forefront of the Time’s Up anti-harassment campaign this year, now tells Buzzfeed she regrets signing the petition.

“I very much regret it,” Portman said. “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,” she continued. “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.”

The petition demanded the “immediate release of Roman Polanski” after his arrest. A warrant for the director’s arrest had been issued 32 years prior after he fled the United States before his sentencing.

“Filmmakers in France, in Europe, in the United States and around the world are dismayed by this decision,” the petition said, directly addressing the Swiss government. “It seems inadmissible to them that an international cultural event, paying homage to one of the greatest contemporary film-makers, is used by police to apprehend him.”

Portman’s latest film, “Annihilation,” opens in theaters February 23.

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