Meryl Streep Speaks Out Against Harvey Weinstein, Calls Sexual Harassment Allegations ‘Inexcusable’
Harvey Weinstein is a god no more in Meryl Streep’s eyes. The Oscar winning actress is just one among many who have thanked the studio mogul in awards acceptance speeches, and Streep once playfully likened Weinstein to god following a Golden Globes win. But after last week’s damning New York Times report, which detailed “over nearly three decades” of sexual harassment and abuse allegations against Weinstein, as well as another disturbing report that followed, Streep has spoken out against the studio exec.
The actress shared an exclusive statement with HuffPost in which she said she was previously unaware of Weinstein’s behavior, which she called “inexcusable,” and that she didn’t know, as the Times‘ exposé revealed, Weinstein has paid out financial settlements to at least eight women after they accused him of sexual abuse and harassment. Streep called the allegations “disgraceful” and went on to acknowledge the women who chose to spoke out and share their stories, calling them “heroes.” Read the full statement below:
The disgraceful news about Harvey Weinstein has appalled those of us whose work he championed, and those whose good and worthy causes he supported. The intrepid women who raised their voices to expose this abuse are our heroes.
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. 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. 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 behavior is inexcusable, but the abuse of power familiar. Each brave voice that is raised, heard and credited by our watchdog media will ultimately change the game.
The Weinstein news has been coming in fast and furious since the Times report. Following the exposé, Weinstein issued an apology, in which he misquoted Jay-Z lyric. He initially said he would be taking a leave of absence from The Weinstein Company, however according to Variety, he continued “appearing at work” until forced out by the company. As of Sunday night, Weinstein has been fired by The Weinstein Company, a decision made by his brother, Bob Weinstein, as well as the others on the board of directors.
While news of the allegations has been all the talk in the film and entertainment community over the past few days, it hasn’t entirely broken into larger pop culture media. After the initial report last Thursday, Trevor Noah was the only late-night host to mention Harvey Weinstein – and “mention” as in merely say his name in a passing reference to another news story. On Sunday night, John Oliver dedicated a short segment to condemning Harvey Weinstein’s behavior (including an A+ Chocolat joke).
Late-night hosts weren’t the only ones to cautiously avoid mentioning Weinstein. This past weekend’s Saturday Night Live omitted any mention of the studio mogul, though according the Times the show initially had Weinstein jokes on deck. The Weinstein-related material was cut from the episode during dress rehearsal since the jokes “seemed to fall flat with the audience.” Lorne Michaels told The Daily Mail that the Weinstein news was “a New York thing,” an odd comment considering there’s nothing NY-only about the Weinstein news.
This is likely just the tip of the iceberg though, and more is bound to come. The day before the Times story dropped, Variety reported that Weinstein was lawyering up in anticipation of the piece, in addition to an expected upcoming exposé from the New Yorker. It’s unknown when that latter story will drop, but with more women coming forward, and with someone like Streep speaking out, it’s clear this is far from the end of the Weinstein downfall.