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Image / Editorial

Natalie Portman brands singer Moby’s claims ‘creepy’ and ‘inappropriate’


by Jennifer McShane
22nd May 2019
Natalie Portman

Actress Natalie Portman has responded to singer Moby’s claims that the pair dated when she was just 18 – almost two decades older than him – insisting he’s using her name to create controversy and sell his biography. The media tends to put the onus on young women who date famously older partners, why is it rarely the other way around, asks Jennifer McShane


Natalie Portman insists there are a number of errors detailing her in the new autobiography of singer Moby, his self-confessed ‘tell-all’ regarding his career success and supposed relationships with a number of women in the public eye.

A few weeks ago, Moby described meeting the actress backstage at one of his concerts when he was in his thirties and she was 20. “I was a bald binge-drinker and Natalie Portman was a beautiful movie star,” he wrote. “But here she was in my dressing room, flirting with me.” He also said he “tried to be Natalie’s boyfriend for a few weeks” but it didn’t work out. Portman called him one night, he continued, to tell him that she had “met someone else and that was that.”

Only Portman herself disputes his version of the events, saying in a new interview in Harper’s Bazaar that wasn’t what happened at all.

“Disturbing to me”

“I was surprised to hear that he characterised the very short time that I knew him as dating because my recollection is a much older man being creepy with me when I just had graduated high school,” Portman said.

She added: “He said I was 20; I definitely wasn’t. I was a teenager. I had just turned 18. There was no fact-checking from him or his publisher – it almost feels deliberate.

“That he used this story to sell his book was very disturbing to me. It wasn’t the case. There are many factual errors and inventions. I would have liked him or his publisher to reach out to fact check.”

She says the singer suggested friendship before she herself realised she didn’t feel too comfortable with it.

“I was a fan and went to one of his shows when I had just graduated. When we met after the show, he said ‘let’s be friends’. He was on tour and I was working, shooting a film, so we only hung out a handful of times before I realised that this was an older man who was interested in me in a way that felt inappropriate.”

Moby himself has responded to the story, accusing Portman of “misrepresenting the truth.”

Even with Portman speaking out (and Moby’s response), the common thread in this story is that of the older man supposedly “scorned” by a younger woman. Moby himself got almost no backlash for originally saying he supposedly dated a few women at least 15 years younger – in fact, that would likely work in his favour – but if it was the opposite way around, such is the inherent gender bias – it would undoubtedly do the opposite.

What we’re used to seeing is older men date younger women, yet it’s a narrative that is more harmful to the woman. How many Daily Mail comments have you read which insist the younger woman is the golddigger for marrying the rich and powerful older man? It’s never the man that has to justify an age-gap; it’s almost always the woman who takes the backlash. Where is the barrage of comments which insist it’s creepy for a man in his late thirties to date a teenager? Actually, there are many.

Helpfully, in our post-#MeToo society, stories such as this – the man insisting on events as”facts” with little pushback (or, in this case, apparently no fact-checking) is no longer automatically accepted.

Portman says this has been a long time coming.

“It gave women the ability to say, ‘We’re essentially being silenced and shamed and now we’re coming forward.’ There’s a real collective force when so many women come together. It’s a shame that it requires so many of us to be heard, but the force of it has the same force of a legal statement being implemented.”

Main photograph: @OfficialRodarte


More like this:

  • ‘I originally thought the book was too dark to put into the world’… here
  • Cannes mother and baby row: Another sign the festival has a long way to go… here

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