Maria Mercedes Lara and Kate Coyne
February 25, 2017 09:47 PM

Meryl Streep is defending herself after Chanel’s designer Karl Lagerfeld claimed that she dropped out of wearing a Chanel dress to this year’s Oscars in favor of a brand that would pay her.

“In reference to Mr. Lagerfeld’s ‘statement,’ there is no ‘controversy’: Karl Lagerfeld, a prominent designer, defamed me, my stylist, and the illustrious designer whose dress I chose to wear, in an important industry publication,” Streep said in a statement to PEOPLE. “That publication printed this defamation, unchecked. Subsequently, the story was picked up globally, and continues, globally, to overwhelm my appearance at the Oscars, on the occasion of my record breaking 20th nomination, and to eclipse this honor in the eyes of the media, my colleagues and the audience.

“I do not take this lightly, and Mr. Lagerfeld’s generic ‘statement’ of regret for this ‘controversy’ was not an apology. He lied, they printed the lie, and I am still waiting,” she said.

The Lagerfeld statement to which Streep refers ran in Women’s Wear Daily on Saturday: “Chanel engaged in conversations with Ms. Streep’s stylist, on her request, to design a dress for her to wear to the Academy Awards. After an informal conversation, I misunderstood that Ms. Streep may have chosen another designer due to remuneration, which Ms. Streep’s team has confirmed is not the case. I regret this controversy and wish Ms. Streep well with her 20th Academy Award nomination.”

Earlier this week, Lagerfeld told WWD that Streep eschewed a Chanel dress for Sunday’s award show in favor of a designer who would allegedly pay her.

“I made a sketch, and we started to make the dress,” Lagerfeld told WWD. He claimed that shortly after production started on the gown, Streep’s camp reportedly canceled in favor of a label that offered a pay out. “‘Don’t continue the dress. We found somebody who will pay us,’ ” Lagerfeld claimed the actress’s team told him.

Streep’s rep refuted the claim to the Hollywood Reporter, saying that it went against the Oscar winner’s moral code to accept money for wearing a dress on the red carpet.

Shortly after Streep’s rep’s statement, Chanel issued a statement of their own, backing up the actress’ claim.

“Chanel engaged in conversations with Ms. Streep’s stylist to design a dress for her to wear to the Academy Awards, with the full understanding that she was considering options from other design houses. When informed by the stylist that Ms. Streep had chosen a dress by another designer there was no mention of the reason. Chanel wishes to express our continued and deep respect for Ms. Streep.”

Kevin Mazur/WireImage

Watch the PEOPLE & EW Red Carpet Live Oscars pre-show on Feb. 26 at 5 p.m. ET/2 p.m. PT on the People/Entertainment Weekly Network (PEN). Go to, or download the app on your favorite device. Then watch our Red Carpet Fashion Wrap-Up after the Oscars!

Streep is nominated for her 20th golden statue this year, teeing up against stars like Natalie Portman and Emma Stone in the Best Actress category for her role in Florence Foster Jenkins. At the Golden Globes in January, she was awarded with the highly revered Cecil B. DeMille Award and delivered a passionate and poignant acceptance speech where she took aim at president Donald Trump and called for empathy and action in the current political climate.

The silver screen icon already has three Oscars in her arsenal for her roles in 2011’s The Iron Lady, 1982’s Sophie’s Choice and 1979’s Kramer v. Kramer.

The Academy Awards kicks off live on ABC on Sunday, Feb. 26, with a 7 p.m. ET pre-show and 8:30 p.m. ceremony. See all the Oscar nominees and get your own ballot here!

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