Natalie Portman Calls Moby "Creepy," He Responds By Getting Creepier

"I recently read a gossip piece wherein Natalie Portman said that we'd never dated. This confused me, as we did, in fact, date."

Natalie Portman

Photo by Fabio Mazzarella/Sintesi/SIPA/Shutterstock

It isn't unusual for celebrities to fake love for publicity.

It was revealed in 2017 that Drake and Jennifer Lopez orchestrated their relationship to appear more serious than it was, and Tom Hiddleston and Taylor Swift had a particularly clumsy PR relationship that backfired magnificently. Now, Moby, the 55-year-old Techno DJ whose once fruitful career has deteriorated into making ambient music for a sleep aid, is trying to play the same game. But this time, his counterpart isn't in on the hoax. "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 in his latest memoir Then It Fell Apart. "But here she was in my dressing room, flirting with me." He goes on to describe a magical night of walking under "old oak trees" and holding hands before returning to Portman's dorm room. "After she fell asleep I carefully extracted myself from her arms and took a taxi back to my hotel."

In the opening lines of an interview with Bazaar, Portman took the opportunity to deny the relationship vehemently. "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 had just graduated high school." She went on to say that no fact-checking had been done by either Moby or his publisher prior to the book's publication, making this PR stunt "feel deliberate." She theorized that he had figured that tossing her name into his life story would help the book sell copies, which it inevitably did. Moby landed a slew of high-profile interviews as a result of the claims. He appeared coy when asked about the alleged fling on Wendy Williams, choosing to elaborate on the success of his record Play instead of answering. When Williams asked him point-blank to confirm the relationship, he went mum. Yet, after Portman's denial, Moby suddenly had a lot to say and was quick to push back, resharing an awkward photo with the actress and doubling down on his claim that they dated; he chose to completely ignore the other allegation that she was in high school at the time.

These exaggerated claims aren't the only ones Moby's made in his memoir. He also wrote that he hooked up with Lana Del Ray, put his bare penis on Donald Trump's leg during a party, and discussed Portman's hotness with Joe Perry at the VMAs. In a separate interview with The Guardian, Moby, who identifies as vegan, also said his drug addiction was so bad at one point that he "went out and bought $300-worth of cocaine, a case of vodka, and a big bag of McDonald's and put it all into a blender." In the same interview, he also claimed to have invented the iPhone. Separately, he said that he's had a "sevensome...or an eightsome," and he's, in all seriousness, said that one of his "major goals in life" was to just "start walking" in a random direction and see what happens.

Such outrageous feats of braggadocio paint the picture of an unfettered man pining to be a rockstar and remain in the spotlight. His history of fame-seeking is also deep-rooted in his music. Every single track off of his fifth and most popular album, Play, was sold and licensed to be used in commercials, a move that decimated his reputation in the Techno community. Yet, in the wake of #MeToo, Moby's inability to recognize the severity of Portman's accusations is disturbing and will no doubt bring a lot of Moby's crazy anecdotes into further question. "The trend toward PR relationships seems to have tailed off in a social media age," wrote VICE. "Which relies more on transparency and honesty than deception and manipulation." While Moby's claims would have generated a good amount of buzz 10 years ago, the same deceptive antics in 2019 paint a different picture, one of a washed-up white guy who wants to be cool more than empathetic and genuine.


Review | 'Testing' Looks for New Sounds in Hip-hop and Beyond

'Testing' is Eager to Find a New Sound in Hip-Hop, but Not New Ideas.

A$AP Rocky's 'Testing'

The Skepta-assisted "Praise the Lord" is pure hip-hop gold, an eargasm that embodies what Rocky does best: boast about himself.

Like Kanye West, A$AP Rocky is another narcissist, but a pretty one. And he's jiggy—don't forget. Testing is Rocky's I'm-a-90's-boy-with-Harlem-swag-and-model-exes psych-rap album that infuses the same sticky, distorted, feverish psychedelia he explored on At.Long.Last.A$AP.

On Testing, the title confirms the same static friction bellowing under the surface of nearly every song, with Rocky mumbling his most emotional and honest bars; meaning Rocky talks about how hot he is and the occasional adversity he faced on his way to the top, or as he proclaims, "I put New York on the map." Before who specifically, Rocky? His bravado is commendable since no other rapper sounds like him—that much can be said.

But his range is starting to show. Rocky can talk about two things well: his model girlfriends and his clothes. He's not an intellectual; his music isn't the type to win a Pulitzer Prize, though it's emblematic of his style and charisma as a young MC. What he lacks in substance, he makes up for in pure swag. He has the voice of a rapper, a cool and collected braggadocio that excuses moments where he seems incapable of going deeper. He remains on the surface, quite literally summarizing his childhood and rise to fame. The connective tissue between Rocky as a young drug dealer to a Dior-wearing fashion icon is disconnected, leaving the limbs of the album frail and malnourished. The look is there. The vibe is there. Now think of a Rocky who actually tells a story, says something more profound than what hair color and sexual orientation he prefers his ever-growing collection of women.

The Skepta-assisted "Praise the Lord" is pure hip-hop gold, an eargasm that embodies what Rocky does best: boast about himself. The production is clean, sexy, jiggy, and sounds like a 90's banger—everything you'd want in a rap song. Skepta's voice is a delight, his accent adding a rush of energy to the chorus. Rocky samples Moby, an unlikely choice for a Harlem rapper, but it speaks to his eclectic tastes; his vision—he's shown in everything from his music, fashion, and acting—isn't black or white.

"Hun43rd" is a dizzying kaleidoscopic vision of what rap could become if artists were willing to deviate from sounds traditionally heard in mainstream music. It's oddly beautiful as a composition: It grates at the ear, right before it drops into a woozy, luminous bubble where Rocky details the rhythm and spirit of his Harlem neighborhood. Those moments feel and sound so good, you forgive Rocky for his botched attempts at enlightened political discourse ("My newest President a asshole / I guess that's why I'm leaving turd stains.") Our political climate is certainly disappointing, but it shouldn't cause incontinence. Go see someone for that, Rocky.

The feature roster on this project is impressive: Frank Ocean, T.I., Diddy, Tyler the Creator, Kid Cudi, FKA Twigs, and several others lend their voices, creating a performative fabric around the album, a weird collaborative project that lacks heart in the songs that need it most. "Purity," is a strong close and maybe a look into a new Pretty Boy Flacko, one who has something more to say.

Shaun Harrisis a poet, freelance writer, and editor published in avant-garde, feminist journals. Lover of warm-toned makeup palettes, psych-rock, and Hilton Als. Her work has allowed her to copyedit and curate content for various poetry organizations in the NYC area.

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