Meryl Streep fired back at Rose McGowan in a defensive statement Monday, days after McGowan accused Streep of remaining silent about Harvey Weinstein’s abusive behavior when she previously worked with him.
In a statement to the Huffington Post Monday, Streep said she had no close relationship with Weinstein, having never been to his home and only to his office once, for a meeting in 1998. The Oscar-winner said she had never been invited by Weinstein to a hotel room, as were the dozens of other actresses who have accused the producer of sexual harassment and assault.
“It hurt to be attacked by Rose McGowan in banner headlines this weekend, but I want to let her know I did not know about Weinstein’s crimes, not in the 90s when he attacked her, or through subsequent decades when he proceeded to attack others,” Streep said in a statement.
“I wasn’t deliberately silent. I didn’t know,” she added. “I don’t tacitly approve of rape. I didn’t know. I don’t like young women being assaulted. I didn’t know this was happening.”
McGowan — who has accused Weinstein of raping her in the 1990s — lashed out at Streep repeatedly this week, most recently writing in a tweet Saturday that the actress “happily” worked with Weinstein and remained silent about his behavior.
“Actresses, like Meryl Streep, who happily worked for The Pig Monster, are wearing black @GoldenGlobes in a silent protest. YOUR SILENCE is THE problem,” McGowan wrote in the tweet, which appears to have since been deleted. “You’ll accept a fake award breathlessly & affect no real change. I despise your hypocrisy.”
McGowan also criticized Streep earlier this month for describing Weinstein’s behavior as an example of “disrespect.”
“No, Meryl, IT’S A F***ING CRIME,” McGowan fired off in a tweet. “You are such a lie.”
In her statement Monday, Streep reiterated that not every actress or filmmaker who worked with Weinstein knew about his sexual misconduct, and that he went to great effort to hide his misdeeds.
“He needed me much more than I needed him and he made sure I didn’t know,” Streep said. “Apparently he hired ex Mossad operators to protect this information from becoming public. Rose and the scores of other victims of these powerful, moneyed, ruthless men face an adversary for whom Winning, at any and all costs, is the only acceptable outcome.”
“Rose assumed and broadcast something untrue about me, and I wanted to let her know the truth,” she added.
Streep — who called Weinstein “God” while accepting the Best Actress prize at the 2012 Golden Globes — has previously maintained that she did not know the extent of Weinstein’s behavior.
“Not everybody knew,” she told HuffPost in October, days after the story first broke. “I didn’t know about these other offenses: I did not know about his financial settlements with actresses and colleagues; I did not know about his having meetings in his hotel room, his bathroom, or other inappropriate, coercive acts.”
“And If everybody knew, I don’t believe that all the investigative reporters in the entertainment and the hard news media would have neglected for decades to write about it,” she added.
Weinstein reportedly remains in Arizona, where he had sought treatment at a rehabilitation facility.
Follow Daniel Nussbaum on Twitter: @dznussbaum