Internet asks New York Times 'Where are Natalie Portman's pants?'

Natalie Portman in <i>A Tale of Love and Darkness</i>.

Natalie Portman in A Tale of Love and Darkness.

You've gotta wonder what the New York Times' editorial team were thinking: "Great piece on Natalie Portman's directorial debut! All we're missing is a few pics of her in her undies."

The internet has slammed the paper's new profile on the actress and filmmaker, after an article about her new film - an adaptation of Amos Oz's A Tale Of Love And Darkness, set during the early days of Israel - was accompanied by a six-picture shoot of the star entirely pants-less (she's wearing a swimsuit, and sometimes even socks).  

And this, just a week after Vanity Fair went through their own very public backlash to Rich Cohen's ridiculous profile on Margot Robbie. When will these people learn? 

Natalie Portman, pantsless, in the New York Times shoot.

Natalie Portman, pantsless, in the New York Times shoot. Photo: New York Times

The piece - bylined to author Jonathan Safran Foer, but framed as an email back-and-forth between the two - delves into serious topics, including Portman's own complex relationship with her Jewish faith and her thoughts on being a new mother, as well as her experiences in directing the film, which is entirely in Hebrew.

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"I learned that if you set something in Israel, even if it is fundamentally a story of love between a boy and his mother, it is 'brave'... Often I wish I was from somewhere inoffensive to anyone, neutral, unproblematic," she told Foer about the movie, which she called "an obvious choice for my first film" due to her family's heritage.

So an accompanying Maxim-style spread makes perfect sense then! Well, no - as readers quickly pointed out.

"Where are Natalie Portman's pants?", asked Huffington Post's Garland Waller following the piece's publication over the weekend.

"When was the last time you saw a male in his underwear promoting his new film? And when in the future do you think you will see a man in his tidy whities promoting his oeuvre?," she asked.

The criticism has only increased today after the piece debuted online, with readers calling out the magazine's sexist treatment of the star and even creating the hashtag #FindPortmansPants.

As others have noted, it's disheartening that even an esteemed publication like the NYT thinks peddling such sexist double standards is okay. What should've been an interesting piece on Portman's move into working behind the camera - a place where women are still largely excluded - gets relegated to focusing on her body.

I think we can file this one right next to Rich Cohen's piece, in that little folder titled: Into The Bin.