During her Saturday Night Live hosting gig on Feb. 3, Natalie Portman generated headlines (and internet memes) by defending the Star Wars prequels, reprising her role as Jackie Kennedy, and appearing on a Strange Things spoof as her young doppleganger, Millie Bobby Brown. But she made her most profound statement via her fashion choice.
Introducing the musical guest, Dua Lipa, the Oscar-winning actress appeared in a white T-shirt with the words “Judge Aquilina” stamped on the front. While chatting with Yahoo Entertainment about her new film, Annihilation, which opens Feb. 23, Portman reveals that the fashion choice was her way of paying tribute to Rosemarie Aquilina, the Michigan circuit court justice who adjudicated the high-profile trial of Larry Nassar. “Without hitting it too hard over everyone’s head, I wanted to acknowledge her contribution to this movement and societal change,” Portman explains.
Like the millions of women and women who followed the trial through news reports, Portman was deeply moved by Aqulina’s empathy for the victims who came forward to testify about the abuse they experienced while under the care of the disgraced Olympics physician. Aquilina’s statement during Nassar’s sentencing, which she made the week before Portman’s SNL episode, was particularly powerful. “She was so eloquent in her encouragement of these women to use their voices and move on with their lives to do all of the beautiful things that they can do and are destined to do,” said Portman, who is a vocal supporter of the #TimesUp movement and has spoken publicly about her own disturbing experiences working in the film industry. “She’s a leader in how the legal world should be responding to these cases, because women and men have not been listened to for so long and don’t have enough legal protection.”
— Reporting by Jon San
Annihilation opens in theaters on Feb. 23.
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