Harvey Weinstein Cites Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Lawrence & Meryl Streep — in His Defense
In a new legal filing obtained by The Blast, the disgraced mogul’s lawyers used the three A-listers as examples of women who supported him or continued to work with him despite his alleged history of sexual assault and harassment.
The documents come in response to a class action suit previously filed by six actresses who claim that Weinstein, along with The Weinstein Company, used his power to bully women and cover up his alleged misconduct.
“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,’ ” the producer’s lawyers said.
The documents go on to mention Streep, who, Weinstein’s attorneys say, “stated publicly that Weinstein had always been respectful to her in their working relationship.”
Streep responded to the lawsuit with a statement on Wednesday, calling it “pathetic and exploitive.” She added, “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.”
As for Paltrow, who claimed Weinstein harassed her during the filming of 1994’s Emma, the documents point out that the actress “went on to star in another Weinstein production — Shakespeare In Love, and even won an Oscar for her role.”
The documents add, “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.”
However, all three actresses have condemned Weinstein since The New York Times and The New Yorker alleged decades of alleged sexual harassment and assault in October. Since then, over 60 women have come forward to accuse the producer of sexual misconduct.
Paltrow was one of dozens of women who came forward to accuse Weinstein of sexual misconduct in the New York Times in October, saying that the movie mogul made unwanted advances towards her in a hotel room when she was 22. The encounter, which she said occurred after Weinstein hired her for the lead role in Emma, allegedly ended with him placing his hands on her and suggesting a massage.
After the alleged confrontation, Paltrow told the Times that Weinstein called her and threatened her not to speak to anyone else about it. “I thought he was going to fire me,” she told the paper. “He screamed at me for a long time. It was brutal.”
Paltrow, who would go on to win a Best Actress Oscar in 1999 Shakespeare in Love, which was produced by Weinstein, “feels relieved and pleased to have spoken out,” a source told PEOPLE at the time.
But for years, Paltrow said she felt the need to suppress the experience. She told the Times, “He was alternately generous and supportive and championing, and punitive and bullying,”
After Streep was criticized by Rose McGowan, who claims she was sexually assaulted by Weinstein, for not speaking out against the producer, the Oscar winner responded, saying, “Not every actor, actress, and director who made films that HW distributed knew he abused women, or that he raped Rose in the ’90s, other women before and others after, until they told us.”
She added, “We did not know that women’s silence was purchased by him and his enablers. HW needed us not to know this, because our association with him bought him credibility, an ability to lure young, aspiring women into circumstances where they would be hurt.”
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While Lawrence did say Weinstein was “paternal” towards her, she also said in the same interview, “I didn’t know that he was a rapist. And it’s so widespread, the abuse, from so many different people — it’s directors, it’s producers — that I think everybody needed to [process it]. Everybody needs to deal with this in their own way; everybody needs to heal.”
The actress, who won an Oscar for the Weinstein-produced Silver Linings Playbook, initially said she was “deeply disturbed” to hear of the allegations against the Hollywood mogul in a statement to PEOPLE.
Weinstein has admitted to making advances on actresses, but vehemently denies allegations of sexual harassment and assault. A spokesperson for the producer previously told PEOPLE in a statement that “any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein. Mr. Weinstein has further confirmed that there were never any acts of retaliation against any women for refusing his advances.”