On Saturday, McGowan, who claims Weinstein assaulted her in the past, called out the Oscar winner on Twitter, writing that Streep continued to work with the disgraced producer for years despite his bad reputation. The Scream actress also slammed a proposed plan to protest sexual misconduct in Hollywood by wearing black to the Golden Globes, sarcastically suggesting the women instead wear dresses by Marchesa, the fashion label founded by Weinstein’s estranged wife, Georgina Chapman. (McGowan has since apologized for suggesting the women wear Marchesa dresses, tweeting that the comment “was beneath” her.)
“It hurt to be attacked by Rose McGowan in banner headlines this weekend, but I want to let her know I did not know about Weinstein’s crimes, not in the 90s when he attacked her, or through subsequent decades when he proceeded to attack others,” Streep said in a statement Monday.
In McGowan’s tweet, which has since been deleted, she wrote, “Actresses, like Meryl Streep, who happily worked for The Pig Monster, are wearing black @goldenglobes in a silent protest. YOUR SILENCE is THE problem. You’ll accept a fake award breathlessly & affect no real chance. I despise your hypocrisy. Maybe you should all wear Marchesa.”
Streep’s statement continued:
“I wasn’t deliberately silent. I didn’t know. I don’t tacitly approve of rape. I didn’t know. I don’t like young women being assaulted. I didn’t know this was happening.
I don’t know where Harvey lives, nor has he ever been to my home.
I have never in my life been invited to his hotel room.
I have been to his office once, for a meeting with Wes Craven for “Music of the Heart” in 1998.
HW distributed movies I made with other people.
HW was not a filmmaker; he was often a producer, primarily a marketer of films made by other people- some of them great, some not great. But 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. 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.
He needed me much more than I needed him and he made sure I didn’t know. Apparently he hired ex Mossad operators to protect this information from becoming public. Rose and the scores of other victims of these powerful, moneyed, ruthless men face an adversary for whom Winning, at any and all costs, is the only acceptable outcome. That’s why a legal defense fund for victims is currently being assembled to which hundreds of good hearted people in our business will contribute, to bring down the bastards, and help victims fight this scourge within.
Rose assumed and broadcast something untrue about me, and I wanted to let her know the truth. Through friends who know her, I got my home phone number to her the minute I read the headlines. I sat by that phone all day yesterday and this morning, hoping to express both my deep respect for her and others’ bravery in exposing the monsters among us, and my sympathy for the untold, ongoing pain she suffers. No one can bring back what entitled bosses like Bill O’Reilly, Roger Ailes, and HW took from the women who endured attacks on their bodies and their ability to make a living.. And I hoped that she would give me a hearing. She did not, but I hope she reads this.
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I am truly sorry she sees me as an adversary, because we are both, together with all the women in our business, standing in defiance of the same implacable foe: a status quo that wants so badly to return to the bad old days, the old ways where women were used, abused and refused entry into the decision-making, top levels of the industry. That’s where the cover-ups convene. Those rooms must be disinfected, and integrated, before anything even begins to change.”
Over the weekend, Amber Tamblyn criticized McGowan‘s tweets, accusing her friend of “shaming” and “taunting” the women who planned to take part in the protest. “This is beneath you, Rose,” she wrote on Twitter.
Over 50 women have accused Weinstein, 65, of sexual assault and misconduct since The New York Times and The New Yorker documented decades of alleged sexual misconduct and sexual assault involving a number of women in detailed articles in October. McGowan was one of the first women to come forward — accusing the producer of rape.
Streep first spoke out about the allegations in October, writing in a statement, “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.”
The actress continued, “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.”
Streep was nominated for an Academy Award for her turn in 2013’s August: Osage County, which Weinstein executive produced. She won an Academy Award for 2012’s Weinstein Company release, The Iron Lady. At the 2012 Golden Globes, upon accepting the award for Best Actress (Drama) for her performance in The Iron Lady, Streep said: “I just want to thank my agent and God Harvey Weinstein.”
In a statement to PEOPLE, Weinstein’s attorneys have denied any allegations of sexual assault.
“Mr. Weinstein has never at any time committed an act of sexual assault, and it is wrong and irresponsible to conflate claims of impolitic behavior or consensual sexual contact later regretted, with an untrue claim of criminal conduct,” his lawyers said. “There is a wide canyon between mere allegation and truth, and we are confident that any sober calculation of the facts will prove no legal wrongdoing occurred.
“Nonetheless, to those offended by Mr. Weinstein’s behavior, he remains deeply apologetic.”