Meryl Streep has lashed out at former longtime collaborator Harvey Weinstein for including her name in a legal defense against numerous women who have accused the producer of sexual misconduct.
Attorney for Weinstein used Streep’s name in a legal filing this week — along with those of Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Lawrence — to claim that several A-list actresses continued to work with him even after he had been accused of repeated sexual misconduct.
In the filing, obtained by celebrity news website The Blast, Weinstein’s attorneys wrote that Streep “stated publicly that Weinstein had always been respectful to her in their working relationship.” The filing came in response to a class-action lawsuit from six women who have accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct.
But in a statement Wednesday, Streep called the use of her name in the filing “pathetic and exploitative.”
“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,” the actress said, according to Entertainment Weekly.
“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,” Streep added.
The Oscar-winning actress has repeatedly claimed she did not know about Weinstein’s alleged behavior toward women, including most recently in December, after actress Rose McGowan blasted Streep for not speaking up sooner.
“I wasn’t deliberately silent. I didn’t know,” the actress — who starred in several Weinstein-produced films, including The Iron Lady, August: Osage County, and Music of the Heart — said at the time. “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.”
Weinstein’s legal filing also claims that Paltrow — who has accused Weinstein of attempting to give her a massage in a hotel room when she was 22 years old — continued to work with the producer after the allegations were said to have occurred, and later won an Oscar for her role in the Miramax-produced film Shakespeare in Love.
“Paltrow was not so offended that she refused to work with Weinstein again, nor did her career suffer as a result of her rebuffing his alleged advances,” the producer’s attorneys wrote.
Weinstein, once renowned in Hollywood as an independent film kingpin, has since been expelled from numerous industry trade organizations, including the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Director’s Guild of America. More than 90 women have accused the mogul of sexual misconduct, including at least ten women who have accused him of rape. Weinstein has denied all claims of non-consensual sex.
He was last reported to be in Arizona, where he had sought treatment at a rehabilitation facility.
Follow Daniel Nussbaum on Twitter: @dznussbaum