February 22, 2018 1:06 pm
Updated: February 22, 2018 4:51 pm

Meryl Streep calls Harvey Weinstein ‘pathetic’ for naming her in lawsuit

(L-R): Meryl Streep and Harvey Weinstein.

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Meryl Streep says Harvey Weinstein invoking her name in his defence in a sexual misconduct lawsuit is “pathetic.”

Weinstein’s lawyers asked a judge to dismiss a federal sexual misconduct lawsuit against him on Wednesday and in their filing cited Streep’s comments saying Weinstein had always been respectful in their working relationship.

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“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,” the actress said in a statement.

READ MORE: Meryl Streep ‘She knew’ posters pop up in L.A. amid Weinstein fallout

“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,” she added.

Her statement came after Weinstein name-dropped her and other stars, including Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Lawrence, in an attempt to prove that not every actress he worked with had a negative experience.

Lawrence has also responded to Weinstein’s attempt at polishing his image while using her as an example.

READ MORE: Jennifer Lawrence admits she becomes ‘incredibly rude’ to avoid fans

“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 a statement. “This is what predators do, and it must stop.”

She continued: “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.”

The filing cited Lawrence telling Oprah Winfrey that she had known Weinstein since she was 20 and said “he had only ever been nice to me,” according to the court documents.

READ MORE: Seal says Oprah Winfrey is ‘part of the problem’ over sexual assault allegations in Hollywood

A spokesperson for Weinstein issued a statement in response to criticism from both actresses.

“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 read.

The statement continued: “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. 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,” the statement concluded.

The lawsuit was filed by six women who claim Weinstein and his former film companies conspired to conceal his widespread sexual harassment and assaults.

The lawsuit, which could potentially involve hundreds of other women, said Weinstein assaulted young women who were trying to break into Hollywood when they were alone with him and that his former film companies operated like an organized crime group to conceal widespread sexual harassment and assaults.

Saying that the proposed class of affected women was “fatally overbroad,” lawyers for Weinstein said that the suit would include all women Weinstein ever met, whether they even claimed to be harmed.

READ MORE: Harvey Weinstein had ‘wing women’ to help with sexual conquests, says lawsuit

The filing, written by lawyers Phyllis Kupferstein and Mary Flynn, also questioned the veracity of claims that the women who sued were under duress because of threats Weinstein made if they complained. It cited Paltrow as an example, saying she went on to work with Weinstein and win an Oscar for Shakespeare in Love in 1998 after he was accused of harassing her during the filming of Emma in 1994.

“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,” the court papers said.

Through a representative, Weinstein has repeatedly denied all allegations of non-consensual sex.

At least 75 women have told the news media that Weinstein harassed, behaved inappropriately toward them or assaulted them. Authorities in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, New York and London are investigating.

—With files from the Associated Press and ET Canada

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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