Meryl Streep & Jennifer Lawrence Blast Harvey Weinstein After Being Named in His Legal Defense
Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lawrence are standing strong against Harvey Weinstein.
Lawyers for the disgraced film producer filed a legal response in New York on Wednesday, which cites the actresses in asking to have the sexual misconduct suit against him and his former companies, The Weinstein Company and Miramax, dismissed. In the lawsuit, six women accuse Weinstein of sexual harassment and abuse.
Weinstein, who has been accused by multiple women of alleged sexual misconduct throughout his career in Hollywood, has consistently, through his spokesperson, denied any "non-consensual acts" and "acts of retaliation."
In defending the 65-year-old producer, the response names Streep and Lawrence as people who have spoken positively about Weinstein in the past as a defense of his character.
"Such women would include, presumably, Jennifer Lawrence, who told Oprah Winfrey she had known Weinstein since she was 20 years old and said 'he had only ever been nice to me,' and Meryl Streep, who stated publicly that Weinstein had always been respectful to her in their working relationship," the response reads.
In a statement obtained by ET on Wednesday, Streep called the use of her past statements "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 exploitative," she said. "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."
Lawrence also responded in a statement obtained by ET, along with a shout-out to the Time's Up initiative.
“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's statement read. "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.”
After Lawrence and Streep's statements, Weinstein issued a statement on Thursday claiming that he learned after the fact of specific names being contained in the legal response, apologizing for their inclusion.
"Mr. Weinstein has been informed that his civil counsel responded in court to a class action lawsuit which improperly sought to include all actresses who had previously worked with Mr. Weinstein, even where those actresses have made no claim of wrongdoing," the statement reads. "Even though Mr. Weinstein has worked with hundreds of actresses and actors who had only professional and mutually respectful experiences with him, Mr. Weinstein has directed in the future that no specific names be used by his counsel, even where those actors have made previous public statements about him."
"Mr. Weinstein acknowledges the valuable input both Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lawrence have contributed to this conversation and apologizes," the statement continues. "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."
Meanwhile, Streep and Lawrence aren't the only actresses named in the legal response. The response also addressed Gwyneth Paltrow's accusations last year against Weinstein of sexual misconduct while filming the 1994 film Emma, arguing that she continued to work with him after the alleged incident occurred.
"For example, Gwyneth Paltrow was allegedly harassed during the filming of Emma in 1994, which allegedly caused her to fear the prospect of being fired," the response reads. "Yet, Paltrow went on to star in another Weinstein production—Shakespeare in Love— for which she won an Academy Award in 1998. 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 response also aims to make a distinction between what the six women in this specific lawsuit -- Zoe Brock, Louisette Geiss, Katherine Kendall, Melissa Sagemiller and Nannette Klatt -- accuse him of and a "sex act."
"Neither a kiss (Sagemiller), a hug (Thomas), being asked to give a massage (Brock, Klatt), being 'chased' around an apartment (Kendall), nor being asked to watch someone masturbate (Geiss) -- even if those alleged events happened -- constitutes a “sex act” within the sex trafficking statute," the response argues. "Finally, because the alleged sexual misconduct occurred more than four years before they filed their lawsuit, Plaintiffs cannot show any actionable injury from this purported predicate act."
Watch the video below for more on the allegations against Weinstein.
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