Last Sunday, actress Natalie Portman wore a cape to the 92nd Academy Awards, embroidered with the names of female filmmakers ignored by the Academy.
Despite the numerous female-helmed projects over the last 12 months - including Greta Gerwig's Little Women, Lorene Scafaria's Hustlers, Lulu Wang's The Farewell and Melina Matsoukas' Queen & Slim, there were only men in the Best Director category this year.Natalie Portman shares her thoughts on the Harvey Weinstein scandal:
Listed below are all the names nominated in the Best Director category.
Bong Joon-ho - Parasite
Sam Mendes - 1917
Todd Phillips - Joker
Martin Scorsese - The Irishman
Quentin Tarantino - Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood
This very fact prompted the Black Swan star to make a statement on the red carpet - and that she certainly did.
However, not everyone was willing to praise Portman for her efforts, in fact, Rose McGowan even branded her a "fraud" for "acting the part of someone who cares".
In a lengthy Facebook post written two days after the awards ceremony, the women's rights activist said:
"Some thoughts on Natalie Portman and her Oscar ‘protest.’ The kind of protest that gets rave reviews from the mainstream media for its bravery. Brave? No, not by a long shot. More like an actress acting the part of someone who cares. As so many of them do.
I find Portman’s type of activism deeply offensive to those of us who actually do the work. I’m not writing this out of bitterness, I am writing out of disgust. I just want her and other actresses to walk the walk.
Natalie, you have worked with two female directors in your very long career- one of them was you. You have a production company that has hired exactly one female director- you. What is it with actresses of your ilk? You ‘A-listers’ could change the world if you’d take a stand instead of being the problem. Yes, you, Natalie. You are the problem.
Lip service is the problem. Fake support of other women is the problem. As I wrote in my book Brave, what goes on behind the screen, goes onscreen, goes into the world. And it’s a pervasive sickness that needs its own medicine.
What you do affects the world, Natalie. As does what you do not do. I am singling you out because you are the latest in a long line of actresses who are acting the part of a woman who cares about other women.
Actresses who supposedly stand for women, but in reality do not do much at all. Of course, women in the world will keep buying the perfumes you promote, the movies you make, and think they’re buying into who you are.
But who are you? 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.
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.
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."
In any case, Portman has since responded to the post with her own statement, saying, "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."
Portman continued: "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."
McGowan has yet to comment on Portman's response.