Meryl Streep has responded to Harvey Weinstein citing her in his sexual misconduct lawsuit defence.
Hollywood mogul Weinstein has faced multiple accusations of rape, sexual misconduct and sexual harassment since late last year. The producer has “unequivocally” denied all allegations.
On Tuesday (February 19), Weinstein filed a motion to dismiss a class action suit from Louisette Geiss, Katherine Kendall, Zoe Brock, Sarah Ann Masse, Melissa Sagemiller and Nannette Klatt.
Weinstein’s lawyers argue that “these proposed class definitions are fatally overbroad as to be not ascertainable”, before citing several stars that have said that he never harassed them personally.
“As drafted, they would include all women who ever met with Weinstein, regardless of whether they claimed to have suffered any identifiable harm as a result of that meeting,” the memo reads.
“Such women would include, presumably, Jennifer Lawrence, who told Oprah Winfrey she had known Weinstein since she was 20 years old and said ‘he had only ever been nice to me,’ and Meryl Streep, who stated publicly that Weinstein had always been respectful to her in their working relationship.”
Streep has since responded, saying: “Harvey Weinstein’s attorneys use of my (true) statement — that he was not sexually transgressive or physically abusive in our business relationship — as evidence that he was not abusive with many OTHER women is pathetic and exploitive”.
She adds: “The criminal actions he is accused of conducting on the bodies of these women are his responsibility, and if there is any justice left in the system he will pay for them — regardless of how many good movies, made by many good people, Harvey was lucky enough to have acquired or financed”.
Weinstein has now apologised to Streep and Lawrence via a representative in a statement, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “Mr Weinstein acknowledges the valuable input both Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lawrence have contributed to this conversation and apologises,” it read.
“Moving forward, Mr. Weinstein has advised his counsel to not include specific names of former associates; and to avoid whenever possible, even if they are in the public record. Mr. Weinstein has been informed that his civil counsel responded in court to a class action lawsuit which improperly sought to include all actresses who had previously worked with Mr. Weinstein, even where those actresses have made no claim of wrongdoing.
“Even though Mr. Weinstein has worked with hundreds of actresses and actors who had only professional and mutually respectful experiences with him, Mr. Weinstein has directed in the future that no specific names be used by his counsel, even where those actors have made previous public statements about him.”
In December, Streep claimed to have been previously unaware of the allegations facing Weinstein, arguing: “Not every actor, actress, and director who made films that HW distributed knew he abused women, or that he raped Rose [McGowan] in the 90s, other women before and others after, until they told us”.
“We did not know that womens’ silence was purchased by him and his enablers,” she added. “HW needed us not to know this, because our association with him bought him credibility, an ability to lure young, aspiring women into circumstances where they would be hurt. He needed me much more than I needed him and he made sure I didn’t know.”