Following director Roman Polanski’s 2009 arrest by Swiss police on a warrant stemming from his 1977 sexual abuse case, more than 100 members of the entertainment industry, including Natalie Portman, signed a petition calling for his immediate release. Now, the actress is opening up about her decision to sign, admitting it was “a mistake” to add her signature to the list.
“I very much regret it,” she tells 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.”
In addition to Portman, other notable names who signed the petition include Tilda Swinton, Harrison Ford, Salman Rushdie, Wes Anderson, Jeremy Irons, Darren Aronofsky, Diane von Furstenberg, Isabelle Huppert, David Lynch, Woody Allen, and many more. Emma Thompson originally signed the petition only to later request that her name be removed after speaking with a 19-year-old college student after she called out her decision to sign.
The Oscar-winning Portman, who was an early supporter of Time’s Up, says she’s learned from her mistake in signing the Polanski petition.
“The thing I feel like I gained from it is empathy towards people who have made mistakes,” Portman explains. “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.”