Meryl Streep has slated lawyers representing Harvey Weinstein for using her name in defending him from a class action lawsuit alleging sexual misconduct.
The Oscar-winning actress called the move ‘pathetic and exploitative’ in a withering statement.
In trying to dismiss a joint case against him by six women, which also alleges that the ‘Weinstein Sexual Enterprise’ was in effect a criminal organisation, Weinstein’s lawyers mentioned Streep by name.
They used quotes from the actress saying that Weinstein ‘had always been respectful to her in their working relationship’.
“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 exploitative,” she said in the 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.”
Weinstein worked with Streep on a number of movies, from The Iron Lady to August: Osage County, and after the initial allegations made against him last October, she released a statement.
“One thing can be clarified,” it read. “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.”
Weinstein’s rebuttal of the allegations against him also mentions Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Lawrence by name, saying that Paltrow went on to work with him again, despite her allegations that she was sexually harassed by him.
“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,” Weinstein’s lawyers Phyllis Kupferstein and Mary E. Flynn wrote.
Paltrow earned an Oscar for her role in Shakespeare In Love, which was produced by Weinstein, and also starred in later movies for him, including The Talented Mr Ripley.
The suit also picks out a quote from Jennifer Lawrence, who once said that the producer had ‘had only ever been nice to me’.
Reps for the women suing Weinstein said: “His attempt to hide behind female actresses after he’s assaulted their colleagues shows just how low he will go.”
More than 60 allegations of sexual misconduct, ranging from harassment to rape, have been made against the Hollywood producer, with authorities in London, New York and California all investigating claims.
Police in the UK alone are looking into 11 allegations against him, ranging from the 1980s to 2015.