Natalie Portman stands with Spain team amid Luis Rubiales scandal: ‘Resilient and inspiring’

Author: Amelia Hansford

Natalie Portman

Oscar-winning actor and football club owner Natalie Portman has praised the “resilience” of Spain’s football players amid allegations that Luis Rubiales kissed Spain captain Jenni Hermoso without her consent.

Spain’s victory at the Women’s World Cup was overshadowed after Rubiales – the president of the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) – was filmed holding Hermoso’s head with both hands and kissing her directly on the lips.

The 33-year-old professional footballer filed an official complaint against Rubiales, 46, accusing him of sexual assault after receiving the unsolicited kiss from him at the 2023 FIFA World Cup final.

Portman applauded the “inspiring” actions of Spain players following the incident, with the women’s team refusing to play until Rubiales steps down or is removed from post.

The Black Swan star, who founded and owns the LA-based National Women’s Soccer League team Angel City FC, said she wished players could “focus on the sport” but have unfortunately been forced to defend themselves.

“The winners previous to this one, the US, were fighting for equal pay at the same time as they were winning the World Cup,” she added.

“This time, the Spanish team was fighting against harassment, abuse and assault.

“The resilience of these women to play at the top level whilst being under such unfair and unjust conditions and the ability to be advocates on and off the field is inspiring.

“I pray for the day they can just be athletes and everything else is fun. For now, I find great inspiration from the players.”

Angel City co-founders Julie Uhrman, Natalie Portman, Fatma Samoura, secretary-general of FIFA and Kara Nortman pose during ahead of the Angel City Equity Summit at Sydney Opera House on 4 August 2023. (Hanna Lassen/Getty Images)

The legal complaint filed by Hermoso following a refusal by Rubiales to step down has prompted Spain’s national prosecutor’s office to investigate the incident.

Rubiales, who has since been provisionally suspended by the sport’s governing body, FIFA, attests that the kiss was “consensual”.

He claimed he had become the victim of a witch-hunt by “false feminists” and defended his actions by saying the kiss was “the same I could give one of my daughters”.

A since-deleted statement from RFEF at the time defended Rubiales’ claims, and called Hermoso’s account of the incident “lies”.

However, following the move by FIFA to suspend him, RFEF issued another statement, saying: “After recent events and the unacceptable behaviour that has seriously damaged the image of Spanish football, the presidents [of the RFEF’s Regional and Territorial Federations] request that Luis Rubiales resign immediately.”

Hermoso also refuted Rubiales’ claims in an Instagram post on 25 August, saying that she was “not respected” in the moment and that the kiss left her feeling “vulnerable” and the “victim of impulsive-driven, sexist, out-of-place act”.

She continued: “I feel the need to report this incident because I believe no person, in any work, sports or social setting should be a victim of these types of non-consensual behaviours.”

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Actual Story on Pink News
Author: Amelia Hansford

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