Rose McGowan has got a serious bone to pick with Natalie Portman.
At the Oscars on Sunday night, Portman wore a black cape with the names of eight female directors who were not nominated embroidered onto the lapel.
But for McGowan, the protest was an empty one. “Brave? No, not by a long shot,” she wrote in a Facebook post. “I find Portman’s type of activism deeply offensive to those of us who actually do the work.”
McGowan’s point of contention is that Portman, in her career as an actress and producer, has not actually worked with many women directors.
“Natalie, you have worked with two female directors in your very long career — one of them was you,” McGowan wrote. “You have a production company that has hired exactly one female director — you.”
Later she added, “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.”
Portman has also faced criticism over not working with many female directors from others on Twitter in the days since the Oscars.
In response to McGowan’s comments, Portman issued her own statement to Variety, “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.
“The past few years have seen a blossoming of directing opportunities for women due to the collective efforts of many people who have been calling out the system. The gift has been these incredible films. I hope that what was intended as a simple nod to them does not distract from their great achievements. 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. Unfortunately, the unmade films I have tried to make are a ghost history,” she continued.
“If these films do get made, women face enormous challenges during the making of them. 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. After they are made, female-directed films face difficulty getting into festivals, getting distribution and getting accolades because of the gatekeepers at every level. 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.”
McGowan has since shared another post on Twitter, suggesting she regretted what she posted about Portman.
She wrote, without naming any names: