Arielle Tschinkel
Updated February 13, 2020

One of the biggest statements on the 2020 Oscars red carpet was Natalie Portman’s Dior cape, which paid homage to the women directors snubbed in the Best Director category of nominees. But days after the ceremony, Rose McGowan wrote a statement on her Facebook page, writing that she found “Portman’s type of activism deeply offensive to those of us who actually do the work,” calling Portman out for reportedly only working with one other woman director in her film career. And now, Portman has responded to McGowan’s post, releasing a statement directly addressing McGowan’s criticism.

As reported by Variety, Portman wrote, “I agree with Ms. McGowan that it is inaccurate to call me ‘brave’ for wearing a garment with women’s names on it.”

She continued, “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.” Though McGowan isn’t planned to testify at his trial, she has been speaking up for years as an alleged rape survivor of Harvey Weinstein.

Portman then revealed that while she has worked with women directors on short films, commercials, music videos, and other features, that she has faced difficulty getting women-fronted films greenlit, or that women have been “forced out of because of the conditions they faced at work.”

She added, “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.”

We are glad to see both women speaking out and using their platform to help discuss these issues. Here’s hoping that these are the kinds of moments that help move the needle toward true equality in the entertainment industry—it’s long, long overdue.