Meryl Streep, Jessica Chastain and More Stars React to Harvey Weinstein Sexual Harassment Allegations

By

Meryl Streep is one of the latest celebrities to speak out in support of those women who came forward alleging that they were sexually harassed by Hollywood movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.

"The disgraceful news about Harvey Weinstein has appalled those of us whose work he championed, and those whose good and worthy causes he supported," Streep says in a statement given to The Huffington Post. "The intrepid women who raised their voices to expose this abuse are our heroes."

While Streep worked with Weinstein and The Weinstein Company for years over the course of her film career -- including in movies The Iron Lady and August: Osage County -- she insists that she was unaware of these allegations until the recent New York Times expose that was published last week.

"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," she notes before going on to list claims of inappropriate behavior on Weinstein's part. "I didn’t know about these other offenses: I did not know about his financial settlements with actresses and colleagues; I did not know about his having meetings in his hotel room, his bathroom, or other inappropriate, coercive acts."

She adds, "And If everybody knew, I don’t believe that all the investigative reporters in the entertainment and the hard news media would have neglected for decades to write about it."

The 68-year-old actress concludes her statement by further admonishing sexual harassment in the workplace. "The behavior is inexcusable, but the abuse of power familiar," she says. "Each brave voice that is raised, heard and credited by our watchdog media will ultimately change the game."

Streep is not the only woman in Hollywood to speak out following news that Weinstein was terminated from the company he co-founded in light of the sexual harassment allegations against him going public. 

Dame Judi Dench released a statement to ET on Monday, acknowledging her working relationship with Weinstein but claiming she too was in the dark about these claims of inappropriate behavior. "Whilst there is no doubt that Harvey Weinstein has helped and championed my film career for the past 20 years, I was completely unaware of these offences which are, of course, horrifying and I offer my sympathy to those who have suffered, and whole hearted support to those who have spoken out," she says.

Kate Winslet also addressed the allegations in a statement released to Variety, lauding the women who have come forth with their stories.

“The fact that these women are starting to speak out about the gross misconduct of one of our most important and well regarded film producers, is incredibly brave and has been deeply shocking to hear,” shares Winslet, who won an Oscar for Best Actress in 2009 for her role in The Reader, which was distributed by The Weinstein Company. "The way Harvey Weinstein has treated these vulnerable, talented young women is NOT the way women should ever EVER deem to be acceptable or commonplace in ANY workplace."

"I have no doubt that for these women this time has been, and continues to be extremely traumatic," her statement continues. "I fully embrace and salute their profound courage, and I unequivocally support this level of very necessary exposure of someone who has behaved in reprehensible and disgusting ways. His behaviour is without question disgraceful and appalling and very, very wrong. I had hoped that these kind of stories were just made up rumours, maybe we have all been naïve. And it makes me so angry. There must be ‘no tolerance’ of this degrading, vile treatment of women in ANY workplace anywhere in the world."

Glenn Close also speaks out about the claims, sharing a statement with The New York Times about how the news has made her "angry and darkly sad."

"I’m sitting here, deeply upset, acknowledging to myself that, yes, for many years, I have been aware of the vague rumors that Harvey Weinstein had a pattern of behaving inappropriately around women," Close says. "Harvey has always been decent to me, but now that the rumors are being substantiated, I feel angry and darkly sad."

Close, who said her anger is directed not just at Weinstein but at "the 'casting couch' phenomenon" in Hollywood, also applauds the bravery of the women who have come forth despite the potential risk to their careers and reputations.

"Ours is an industry in which very few actors are indispensable and women are cast in far fewer roles than men, so the stakes are higher for women and make them more vulnerable to the manipulations of a predator," she states. "I applaud the monumental courage of the women who have spoken up. I hope that their stories and the reportage that gave them their voices represents a tipping point, that more stories will be told and that change will follow."

Close goes on to explain that "no one should be coerced into trading personal dignity for professional success" and that the time has come for the film industry to unite and "create a new culture of respect, equality and empowerment, where bullies and their enablers are no longer allowed to prosper."

Meanwhile, Jessica Chastain has been very vocal on Twitter regarding the wide-spread accusations. On Monday, the actress said she had been "warned" about the movie mogul's reputation from the start of her career.

"I was warned from the beginning. The stories were everywhere. To deny that is to create an environment for it to happen again," she writes.

Chastain starred in the period piece crime drama Lawless in 2012 and the romantic drama art-house trilogy The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby in 2013, both of which were distributed by The Weinstein Company.

Chastain also tweeted her support for a Variety article by critic Maureen Ryan about the need for men in Hollywood to take a vocal stand against pervasive sexual harassment in the industry.

"Yes. I'm sick of the media demanding only women speak up. What about the men? Perhaps many are afraid to look at their own behavior....." she writes.

Girls executive producer Jennifer Konner is also among those to speak with The New York Times about Weinstein's termination, stating, "I see this as a tipping point. This is the moment we look back on and say, ‘That’s when it all started to change.’”

Konner adds that his firing "is going to scare any man in Hollywood using his power for anything but making movies and television.”

Last week, Weinstein released a statement following the New York Times expose -- -- which points out the multiple sexual harassment accusations against him -- saying he came of age in the “60s and '70s, when all the rules about behavior and workplaces were different.” 

"I appreciate the way I've behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologize for it,” the statement continued.

Weinstein’s attorney, Charles Harder, then issued a separate statement calling the Times story “saturated with false and defamatory statements," and threatened to sue the paper.

In an exclusive interview with ET, Rashida Jones also spoke out about the Weinstein allegations. 

"I think it's great that women are speaking out," the Parks and Recreation star said. "I just hope that it encourages a culture of continuing to speak out, because I think sometimes these things peak and one person kind of has to be held accountable. But I'm sure there's so many other instances of this in every business, really."