Back in 2009, a petition was created, The Guardian reports, to free Polanski after he was arrested in Switzerland for a then-decades old warrant relating to the rape of a 13-year-old girl in 1977. A number of celebrities, including Portman, Penelope Cruz, Harrison Ford and Martin Scorsese, signed the document, asking the Swiss Federal Justice "not to turn this brilliant filmmaker into a martyr of a juridico-political imbroglio."
"I very much regret it," the 36-year-old actress, who was in her late 20s at the time, admitted. "I take responsibility for not thinking about it enough. Someone I respected gave it to me, and said, 'I signed this. Will you too?' And I was like, 'Sure.'"
"It was a mistake," she continued. "The thing I feel like I gained from it is empathy towards people who have made mistakes. We lived in a different world, and that doesn't excuse anything. But you can have your eyes opened and completely change the way you want to live. My eyes were not open."
Flash forward to present day, and Portman prides herself on being an activist in the acting community. She also discussed all the controversy surrounding Woody Allen, whom she worked with in the past on the 1996 film Everyone Says I Love You.
When asked if she thinks time is up for Allen, she replied, "I don't think that's what the conversation should be about."
"I think it should be about: Why didn't Elaine May make a movie every year? Why didn't Nora Ephron make a movie every year? Where's the female version of Bill Cosby? Why don't we see any Asian women in films?" Portman explained. "There's so much art that's being lost by not giving opportunities to women and people of color. Let's not talk about what man's career is over. Let's talk about the vast art trove we've lost by not giving women, people of color, people with disabilities, and the LGBTQ+ community opportunities -- let's talk about that loss for all of us in art. Let's talk about that huge hole in our culture."
"I don't want talk about, 'Isn't it sad that this person who's made 500 movies can't make movies anymore?'" she clarified. "That's not for me to decide. And it's also not what I'm upset about."
Since its creation, Portman has been heavily involved with the Time's Up movement, which aims to raise awareness and put an end to the sexual harassment and gender inequality issues that have long plagued Hollywood. While speaking with Buzzfeed News, she also addressed her sly move at this year's Golden Globes. In case you missed it, while Portman was presenting the Best Director category, she said, "And here are the all-male nominees."
"I discussed with some of the women I've been working with [through Time's Up] that they had offered to me to present the director category, but I felt uncomfortable because it seemed to be excluding some deserving nominees," Portman explained. "And how could I bring attention to it without disrespecting the nominees? Because it's not their fault, and they all made great work. You don't want to not recognize them. It's just, why aren't we recognizing the people who aren't part of this exclusive club? So one of the women recommended I say that, and it felt like stating something that was true."
"That's part of what we're here to do," she added. "We have to make it weird for people to walk in a room where everyone's not in the room. If you look around a room and everyone looks like you, get out of that room. Or change that room. Whether you go to a restaurant, whether you go to your kid's school, whether you go to work -- if you look around, and everyone's not in the room, change that room."
Portman was just one of the many women who helped the movement become successful. And while she certainly is doing her part to raise awareness, she had to give credit to Reese Witherspoon for spearheading the initiative.
"She is a force, making work for everyone, including myself," Portman gushed. "She is generating so much material, and putting her money where her mouth is."
"I'm learning from Reese! I'm inspired by her," she added. "Right now, I'm just trying to get parts that she's created. I'm trying to direct more. But it's a lot! I haven't figured it out as well as she has."
Hear more on how Time's Up has affected this year's awards season in the video below.