In what’s become a he said/she said spat in multiple mediums, Moby, the elder statesman of electronic music, is now accusing actress Natalie Portman of lying and pleading to those on social media for his safety as “physical threats from complete strangers” emerge.
To recap: this month, Moby released a new book, “Then It All Fell Apart,” a follow-up to his well-received 2016 autobiography “Porcelain.” Now 53, the Grammy-nominated artist and animal rights activist gave the book a promising premise (“What do you do when you realize you think you have everything you’ve ever wanted but still feel completely empty?”), which was undercut by some of its more gossip-y tidbits, including an account of the author mistaking an A-list actress for a groupie following a show in Austin.
“I was a bald binge drinker who lived in an apartment that smelled like mildew and old bricks, and Natalie Portman was a beautiful movie star,” Moby wrote. “But here she was in my dressing room, flirting with me.”
Later, according to Moby, he paid Portman a visit at Harvard, where their romance blossomed: “We held hands and wandered around … kissing under the centuries-old oak trees,” he wrote. “At midnight she brought me to her dorm room and we lay down next to each other on her small bed. After she fell asleep, I carefully extracted myself from her arms and took a taxi back to my hotel.”
Perhaps no one was more astonished to read about the relationship between Moby and Natalie Portman than the Oscar-winning actress herself. Portman has insisted that this part of the book is more fictional than factual, and her version of events is radically different.
“I was surprised to hear that he characterized 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,” she said in a recent interview for the website of British Harper’s Bazaar. The headline — “Natalie Portman on Moby, Harvey Weinstein and the documentary that turned her vegan” — referenced the fallen Hollywood movie mogul regarded as the offender that spurred the reinvigoration of the #MeToo movement.
Portman pointed out at least one irrefutable error in the book that Moby has yet to address: He stated her age as 20 at the time of his visit to Cambridge in 1999, but, in fact, she had just turned 18. “He used this story to sell his book [which] was very disturbing to me,” said Portman, who admits the part about her attending his concert is true (minus any flirtatious behavior on her part). “I was a fan and went to one of his shows when I had just graduated,” she recalled. “We only hung out a handful of times before I realized that this was an older man who was interested in me in a way that felt inappropriate.”
Two days ago, Moby responded on Instagram and shared with his 378,000 followers what he claimed was “corroborating photo evidence” of their “brief, innocent and consensual romantic involvement.” In the caption accompanying a shirtless picture of him with his arm around Portman, Moby discredited her interview as a “gossip piece” and accused Portman of lying about their “romantic history.” On Thursday, he posted two more photos of them together along with the following quote: “Sincerely, what should I do when people believe accusations and not evidence?”
Portman, meanwhile, has chosen not to dignify these posts with a response. According to her rep: “Nat has said all she cares — or hopefully needs — to say.”
Still, Moby is getting a fair amount of heat on social media for his insistence that Portman is not telling the truth, with pundits across the entertainment industry practically begging the artist to stand down.
And as of Friday, Moby has refocused his attention on activism with a Portman-free picture of a baby cow and a caption that implores: “If you love animals, don’t hurt them.”
Deeper into his second memoir, Moby wrote about dating another celebrity. According to the author, he went out with Lana Del Rey when she was a 21-year-old still known as Lizzy Grant, and he was 40. Variety has reached out to her reps for comment.