Natalie Portman: 'I very much regret' signing Roman Polanski petition

Nine years after she signed a Hollywood petition demanding the release of Roman Polanski from Swiss custody, Natalie Portman says she regrets supporting the filmmaker, who pleaded guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor in 1977.

"I very much regret it. I take responsibility for not thinking about it enough," Portman says in an interview with Buzzfeed News published on Tuesday. "Someone I respected gave it to me, and said, 'I signed this. Will you too?' And I was like, 'sure.' "

The petition, made public in September 2009, demanded "the immediate release of Roman Polanski" after the Rosemary's Baby filmmaker was detained days earlier in Switzerland on a warrant for Polanski's 1977 underage sex case in the U.S., which he fled before his sentencing. Over 100 figures in the film industry signed, including heavyweights such as Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen, Wim Wenders, Tilda Swinton and Wong Kar Wai. 

Portman, who has become an outspoken representative of the Time's Up initiative since the fall and spoke at the 2018 Los Angeles Women's March, says that she signed the petition out a mistaken sense of empathy. "It was a mistake. The thing I feel like I gained from it is empathy towards people who have made mistakes," she told Buzzfeed News. "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."

See recent photos of Natalie Portman:

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Natalie Portman out and about
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Natalie Portman out and about
WESTWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 13: Actress Natalie Portman arrives for the premiere of Paramount Pictures' 'Annihilation' held at Regency Village Theatre on February 13, 2018 in Westwood, California. (Photo by Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images)
WESTWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 13: Actress Natalie Portman attends the Los Angeles premiere of 'Annihilation' at Regency Village Theatre on February 13, 2018 in Westwood, California. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 05: Natalie Portman speaks onstage during The 2018 MAKERS Conference at NeueHouse Hollywood on February 5, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rachel Murray/Getty Images for MAKERS)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 05: Natalie Portman attends The 2018 MAKERS Conference at NeueHouse Hollywood on February 5, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for MAKERS)
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- Episode 1738 'Natalie Portman' -- Pictured: (l-) Mikey Day, Natalie Portman during 'Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards' sketch in Studio 8H on Saturday, February 3, 2018 -- (Photo by: Will Heath/NBC)
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- Episode 1738 'Natalie Portman' -- Pictured: Natalie Portman during the opening monologue in Studio 8H on Saturday, February 3, 2018 -- (Photo by: Will Heath/NBC)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 20: Actress Natalie Portman attends the women's march Los Angeles on January 20, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 07: America Ferrera and Natalie Portman attend the 75th Annual Golden Globe Awards - Arrivals at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 7, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by David Crotty/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 07: (L-R) Singer Mariah Carey, actors America Ferrera, Natalie Portman and Emma Stone, and former tennis player Billie Jean King attend The 75th Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 7, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - NOVEMBER 19: Actor Natalie Portman (R) and journalist Jada Yuan speak onstage during Vulture Festival LA presented by AT&T at Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel on November 19, 2017 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for Vulture Festival)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - NOVEMBER 10: Natalie Portman speaks onstage during the 31st Annual American Cinematheque Awards Gala at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on November 10, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Lester Cohen/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 07: Actors Natalie Portman (L) and Rashida Jones arrive at the L.A. Dance Project's Annual Gala at L.A. Dance Project on October 7, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)
SANTA MONICA, CA - SEPTEMBER 23: Actress Natalie Portman arrives at the 27th Annual EMA Awards at Barker Hangar on September 23, 2017 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage)
TELLURIDE, CO - SEPTEMBER 02: Natalie Portman and Angelina Jolie attend the Telluride Film Festival 2017 on September 2, 2017 in Telluride, Colorado. (Photo by Paul Best/Getty Images)
TELLURIDE, CO - SEPTEMBER 04: Natalie Portman attends the Telluride Film Festival 2017 on September 2, 2017 in Telluride, Colorado. (Photo by Vivien Killilea/Getty Images)
TOKYO, JAPAN - JULY 20: Natalie Portman attends the 'Planetarium' Japan Premiere at Shinjuku Wald9 on July 20, 2017 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Jun Sato/WireImage)
TOKYO, JAPAN - JULY 19: Natalie Portman attends the Dior For Love photocall at Warehouse Terrada on July 19, 2017 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Jun Sato/WireImage)
PARIS, FRANCE - JULY 03: Actress Natalie Portman attends the Christian Dior Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 show as part of Paris Fashion Week on July 3, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Marc Piasecki/WireImage)
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Portman has previously said that she has "100 stories" of sexual harassment in Hollywood, though she has specified that she was never assaulted.

Portman also offered insight into why she announced the nominees for the director category at the 2018 Golden Globe Awards as the "all-male nominees." Portman said she had been offered to announce the directors at the ceremony, but that she "felt uncomfortable because it seemed to be excluding some deserving nominees." After speaking with some women she had been working with, and emphasizing that the did not want to disrespect the nominees. one suggested the description as a solution.

"That's part of what we're here to do," Portman said. "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."

During the interview, Portman additionally addressed controversy over the "whitewashing" of her character in her upcoming film Annihilation, which bows Feb. 22. The movie, which is adapted from the first book of Jeff VanderMeer's Southern Reach trilogy, cast Portman and Jennifer Jason Leigh as characters that the second book in the trilogy revealed were of Asian and American Indian heritage, respectively. Portman, Leigh and director Alex Garland have said that they did not know of the characters' ethnicities as written in the second book, because they were adapting the first.

When asked how she felt when learning of her character's written heritage, Portman said, "It felt terrible. This is the thing: There's a very big problem of representation in Hollywood, and I have very strong feelings about it ... there just needs to be more representation, and I would hate to be part of that problem."

After explaining that the film was based on VanderMeer's first book, which does not mention race, Portman added, "And I think we live in a post-Hamilton world where we don't even need to think about what's authentic to the character, like faithful to the character. It should just be that everyone can empathize with everyone. And also going against a horrible history of over-seeing white actors and under-seeing otherized people and minorities."

Photos of Roman Polanski:

12 PHOTOS
Roman Polanski through the years
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Roman Polanski through the years
French-Polish film director Roman Polanski smiles during a conference at the Paris Book Fair on March 20, 2015. AFP PHOTO / LIONEL BONAVENTURE (Photo credit should read LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP/Getty Images)
French-Polish film director Roman Polanski arrives for a hearing at the regional court in Krakow on February 25, 2015. The court is to decide whether to extradite the Oscar-winning director to the United States for sentencing on charges that he raped a 13-year-old girl in 1977. AFP PHOTO / JANEK SKARZYNSKI (Photo credit should read JANEK SKARZYNSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
French-Polish film director Roman Polanski (C) is accompanied by his lawyers as he arrives for a hearing at the regional court in Krakow on February 25, 2015. The court is to decide whether to extradite the Oscar-winning director to the United States for sentencing on charges that he raped a 13-year-old girl in 1977. AFP PHOTO / JANEK SKARZYNSKI (Photo credit should read JANEK SKARZYNSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
French-Polish film director Roman Polanski (C) is accompanied by his lawyers as he arrives for a hearing at the regional court in Krakow on February 25, 2015. The court is to decide whether to extradite the Oscar-winning director to the United States for sentencing on charges that he raped a 13-year-old girl in 1977. AFP PHOTO / JANEK SKARZYNSKI (Photo credit should read JANEK SKARZYNSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JANUARY 07: Director Roman Polanski presents the Musical 'Le bal des Vampires' during the 'Vivement Dimanche' French TV Show at Pavillon Gabriel on January 7, 2015 in Paris, France. (Photo by Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/Getty Images)
Polish-French director Roman Polanski (R) and British former Formula One racing driver Jackie Stewart pose during a photocall before attending a screening of the film 'Week-end of a Champion', directed by Polanski and Frank Simon, in Monaco on December 16, 2013. AFP PHOTO / VALERY HACHE (Photo credit should read VALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images)
388086 07: Film Director Roman Polanski Attends A Memorial Service For Victims Of The Holocaust, April 19, 2001 In Warsaw, Poland. The Day Marked The 58Th Anniversary Of The Uprising Of The Jews Imprisoned In The Warsaw Ghetto By The Nazi Germans. Polanski Himself Escaped From The Krakow Jewish Ghetto Earlier In World War Ii And Spent The Rest Of The War Years Hiding In Polish Villages. (Photo By East News/Getty Images)
Roman Polanski and his wife Emmanuelle Seigner - Solidarity party for Egypt - 1993. (Photo by Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/Getty Images)
Emmanuelle Seigner and her husband Roman Polanski, at the European cinema awards - 1989. (Photo by Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/Getty Images)
AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - 1st JANUARY: Film director Roman Polanski appears at a press reception in Amsterdam, Netherlands to promote his film Tess in 1979. (Photo by Gijsbert Hanekroot/Redferns)
AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - 1st JANUARY: Film director Roman Polanski appears with German actress Nastassja Kinski at a press reception in Amsterdam, Netherlands to promote his film Tess in 1979. (Photo by Gijsbert Hanekroot/Redferns)
FRANCE - CIRCA 1964: Francoise Dorleac dancing with Roman Polanski. Paris, Club Saint-Hilaire. 1963. HA-1616. (Photo by Roger Viollet/Getty Images)
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