Natalie Portman honored the female directors who were snubbed by the Oscar for nominations in the Best Director category by wearing a coat with their names embroidered on it. But Rose McGowan says the choice was not brave and she called out Portman for owning a production company but only have hired one female director- herself. McGowan called Portman’s fake activism, “deeply offensive to those of us who actually do the work.”
She continued, “I’m not writing this out of bitterness, I am writing out of disgust,” McGowan said. “I just want her and other actresses to walk the walk.”
McGowan then wrote to Portman directly, “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. 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.”
Natalie Portman has responded to the criticism, explaining that she has worked with female directors and tries her best to hire them but has faced “difficulty getting into festivals, getting distribution and getting accolades”. See her statement below:
“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.
As Stacy Smith of USC has well documented, female films have been incredibly hard to get made at studios, or to get independently financed. 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.
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.”