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Meryl Streep says she ‘didn’t know’ about Weinstein’s sexual misconduct
After Rose McGowan publicly criticized Meryl Streep’s plans to attend the Golden Globes last week, Streep has responded with an open letter saying she “didn’t know” about disgraced mogul Harvey Weinstein’s sexual misconduct.
The conflict began with a now-deleted tweet Saturday wherein McGowan called out actresses, including Streep, for their rumored plan to wear black to the Golden Globes in “silent protest” of Hollywood’s ongoing culture shift with regard to sexual misconduct.
McGowan tweeted that the protest will bring “no real change,” and sarcastically suggested that the participants all wear Marchesa, the clothing brand run by Weinstein’s wife Georgina Chapman.
“Actresses, like Meryl Streep, who happily worked for The Pig Monster, are wearing black @goldenglobes in a silent protest,” McGowan wrote. “YOUR SILENCE is THE problem. You’ll accept a fake award breathlessly & affect no real chance [sic]. I despise your hypocrisy. Maybe you should all wear Marchesa.”
The ultimate reply arrived Monday evening in the form of an open letter from Streep. Since she was specifically named in McGowan’s tweets, the three-time Oscar winner released a statement via her publicist to the Huffington Post.
In the statement, Streep said McGowan “assumed and broadcast something untrue about me, and I wanted to let her know the truth.”
Streep asserted she “did not know” about Weinstein’s sexual misconduct toward women.
“I wasn’t deliberately silent,” Streep said. “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.”
She said Weinstein was able to get away with so much in part because he gained the trust of respected people in the industry like herself.
“Our association with him bought him credibility, an ability to lure young, aspiring women into circumstances where they would be hurt,” Streep said.
Streep said she gave her home phone number to McGowan’s friends and hoped the actress would call, but McGowan did not contact her.
“I am truly sorry she sees me as an adversary,” Streep said, “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.”
Streep said events like the Globes “must be disinfected, and integrated, before anything even begins to change.”
You can read Streep’s full statement here.
The Golden Globes will air Jan. 7 with Seth Meyers as the host.
Christine Friar is a writer and editor in New York who focuses on streaming entertainment and internet culture. Her work has appeared in the Awl, the Fader, New York Magazine, Paper Magazine, Vogue, Elle, and more.