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Meryl Streep is firing back at Harvey Weinstein after the disgraced film mogul’s lawyers used her name and one of her statements in an attempt to dismiss a sexual misconduct lawsuit against him, The Hollywood Reporter confirmed Wednesday.
“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,” Streep said in a statement. “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.”
On Tuesday, Weinstein asked a New York federal judge to dismiss a racketeering lawsuit filed by six women who said they were sexually assaulted or harassed by him. Lawyers for Louisette Geiss, Katherine Kendall, Zoe Brock, Sarah Ann Masse, Melissa Sagemiller and Nannette Klatt argued that “the Weinstein Sexual Enterprise” was essentially a criminal organization given the “hundreds” of women who have alleged misconduct by Weinstein.
Weinstein’s lawyers on Tuesday filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the women were restricted from pursuing their claims by statutes of limitation and that the class-action status of the allegations was invalid because the claims would apply to “all women who ever met with Weinstein, regardless of whether they claimed to have suffered any identifiable harm,” including Streep, which the motion mentioned by name. The motion also mentioned that in a recent statement, the actress said that Weinstein “had always been respectful to her in their working relationship.”
Weinstein, who made films with Streep including The Iron Lady and August: Osage County with The Weinstein Co., is facing more than 60 allegations of sexual misconduct since The New York Times and New Yorker reported on the claims in October.
Following the first wave of allegations against Weinstein, Streep released a statement saying, in part, “One thing can be clarified. Not everybody knew. Harvey supported the work fiercely, was exasperating but respectful with me in our working relationship, and with many others with whom he worked professionally.”
This isn’t the first time Streep has issued a statement clarifying her relationship to Weinstein: In an open note to alleged Weinstein victim Rose McGowan released in December, Streep claimed she did not know of rumors that Weinstein abused women. “Not every actor, actress, and director who made films that HW distributed knew he abused women, or that he raped Rose in the 90s, other women before and others after, until they told us. We did not know that women’s silence was purchased by him and his enablers,” she wrote.
Earlier this month, the Los Angeles Police Department submitted three sexual assault cases against Weinstein to the district attorney’s office. The U.K. police are also investigating 11 incidents spanning from the 1980s to 2015.
On Thursday (Feb. 22), another female star named in the Weinstein motion to dismiss, Jennifer Lawrence, released her own statement slamming the disgraced mogul for taking “things out of context.”
“Harvey Weinstein and his company are continuing to do what they have always done which is to take things out of context and use them for their own benefit. This is what predators do, and it must stop,” Lawrence said in a statement. “For the record, while I was not victimized personally by Harvey Weinstein, I stand behind the women who have survived his terrible abuse and I applaud them in using all means necessary to bring him to justice whether through criminal or civil actions. Time’s up.”
Lawrence worked with Weinstein on Silver Linings Playbook, for which she won the best actress Oscar.
Feb. 22, 7:58 a.m. This story has been updated with Jennifer Lawrence’s statement.
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