Meryl Streep, Jennifer Lawrence Hit Back After Harvey Weinstein Named Them in Lawsuit
Disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein tried using previous comments from Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lawrence to bolster his attempt to win the dismissal of a lawsuit accusing him of sexual misconduct. But the two Oscar-winning actresses are having none of it.
Streep fired back at Weinstein on Wednesday, calling the inclusion of her earlier comments in the former studio head’s legal proceedings “exploitive.” Last fall, as many women called out Weinstein and accused him of misdeeds ranging from harassment to rape, Streep issued a statement in which she claimed not to have known about Weinstein’s allegedly long track record of abusive behavior. “Harvey supported the work fiercely, was exasperating but respectful with me in our working relationship, and with many others with whom he worked professionally,” Streep said at the time, though she also made it clear that she believed Weinstein’s accusers, calling the women “heroes.”
On Wednesday, Streep issued a new statement in response to news that her initial comments were being used by Weinstein and his attorneys, who have asked a New York federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed by six women accusing the longtime studio executive of sexual assault and harassment. “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, as reported by The Hollywood Reporter. “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.”
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Meanwhile, Weinstein’s attorneys reportedly quoted Lawrence as saying that Weinstein “had only ever been nice to me” in the motion to dismiss the lawsuit. On Thursday, the Hunger Games actress shot back at Weinstein, calling him a “predator” in her own statement.
“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,” Lawrence said in the statement. “This is what predators do, and it must stop.”
“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,” Lawrence added. “Time’s up.”
Weinstein’s The Weinstein Company produced the 2012 film Silver Linings Playbook, which earned Lawrence an Academy Award. Streep worked with Weinstein on films such as The Iron Lady and August: Osage County.
In a motion to dismiss the lawsuit filed this week, Weinstein’s attorneys argued that the plaintiffs’ claims are barred by the statute of limitations and that the lawsuit should have its class-action status removed because the claims do not apply to “all women who ever met with Weinstein,” using the earlier comments from Streep and Lawrence as part of the latter argument.
UPDATE: A spokesperson for Harvey Weinstein sent Fortune a statement on behalf of Weinstein in which he said he has instructed his attorneys to no longer use the specific names of actresses and actors he has worked with in the past as part of his legal defense. The statement, in part, reads: “Mr. Weinstein acknowledges the valuable input both Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lawrence have contributed to this conversation and apologizes. Once again, 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.”