Natalie Portman Urges Hollywood to Stop Calling Women 'Crazy or Difficult'

Men calling women "crazy" is an all-too-common strategy for dismissing women's anger — and Natalie Portman is not here for it

Variety's Power Of Women: Los Angeles - Arrivals
Photo: Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic

Natalie Portman is sick of men dismissing women by calling them “crazy.”

The Oscar winner, 37, spoke about sexual harassment, equal pay, representation and more as an honoree at Variety’s Power of Women summit on Friday — and the crowd erupted in cheers following her comments about “gossiping well.”

“Stop the rhetoric that a woman is crazy or difficult,” Portman said. “If a man says to you that a woman is crazy or difficult, ask him, ‘What bad thing did you do to her?’ … That’s a code word. He’s trying to discredit her reputation. Make efforts to hire people who’ve had their reputations smeared in retaliation.”

The mother of two also talked about the importance of diversity in every aspect of activism.

“If any group you’re in has only people who look like you, change that group,” she urged. “It’s an awakening experience to hear from women who have different experiences of marginalization … Be embarrassed if everyone in your workplace looks like you. Pay attention to physical ability, age, race, sexual orientation, gender identity.”

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The Time’s Up advocate then gave advice for dealing with those who abuse their power.

“Don’t shy away from consequences for those who abuse their power. [They’re] not going to have a change of behavior out of the goodness of their hearts,” she said before encouraging Hollywood execs to stop making films depicting violence against women.

Exclusive - Natalie Portman and Yuval Noah Harari in conversation, London, UK - 27 Sep 2018
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“Do not harm women this year. Let’s see how that goes,” the Annihilation star concluded.

Portman is a known activist for progressive causes. In June, she addressed her former friendship with Harvard classmate Jared Kushner to Stephen Colbert on The Late Show.

RELATED: Natalie Portman, at 13, experienced ‘sexual terrorism’

“Unfortunately it’s not very — there’s not a lot funny to say about someone you were friends with becoming a super villain. So, it’s not funny,” she said.

“He said in some interview that all of the friends he’s lost through politics is like exfoliating. I was like, ‘Okay,’ ” she added.

“So you’re a dead skin cell?” Colbert quipped.

“Proudly,” Portman replied.

While it’s not clear exactly when Portman and Kushner’s friendship deteriorated, the duo were close at least as recently as 2012, when Kushner and his wife Ivanka Trump were guests at Portman’s wedding to Benjamin Millepied.

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