Natalie Portman took a flamethrower to the patriarchy at Variety magazine’s Power of Women luncheon held in Beverly Hills on Friday, almost exactly a year since The New York Times and The New Yorker published accounts from dozens of women alleging sexual misconduct by the once-powerful movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.
Weinstein, who has denied any wrongdoing, was quickly ostracized by the entertainment industry, which helped gain momentum for the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements.
In a commanding 15-minute speech, Portman addressed the underrepresentation of women in all industries and laid out guidelines to incite change, such as donating to Time’s Up, opting against depicting violence against women in films and hiring women for positions they’re not typically considered for. She was being recognized for her humanitarian efforts in co-founding Time’s Up, a legal defense fund that was created following the rise of the #MeToo movement to address and combat inequality in the workplace.
“Be embarrassed if everyone in your workplace looks like you,” Portman said.
Portman said Weinstein is “still free” because “our culture protects the perpetrators of sexual violence, not its victims.” She added that the Time’s Up defense fund has served more than 3,500 people from “workers at McDonald’s to prison guards to military personnel to women in our own industry who have faced gender-based harassment, coercion and assault.”
“Recently our lawyers helped Melanie Kohler triumph against Brett Ratner and his lawyer Marty Singer...who tried to use Brett’s enormous financial advantage over her to try to bully her into silence,” Portman said. “Because of our lawyers ... he dropped his case of defamation.”
Regina King, an honoree supporting the I Have a Dream Foundation, followed Portman saying “Man, Natalie Portman 2020.”