HARVEY Weinstein wants a judge to dismiss a federal sexual misconduct lawsuit against him and invoked the words and actions of Oscar-winning actresses to do it.
But she’s not tolerating it.
Oscar-winning actress Meryl Streep has struck out at the disgraced movie mogul’s lawyers for using her name in an attempt to get a class-action lawsuit against him dismissed.
The triple Oscar-winning star said their action was “pathetic and exploitative” after they cited her saying was never harassed by the producer in an attempt to shut the case down.
The lawyers were responding to six women suing Weinstein and the Weinstein Sexual Enterprise, which they said included his brother Bob and a studio they co-founded, The Weinstein Company.
In a statement, Streep said: “Harvey Weinstein’s attorneys use of my (true) statement — that he was not sexually transgressive or physically abusive in our business relationship — as evidence that he was not abusive with many OTHER women is pathetic and exploitative.
“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.”
While the lawyers did not go as far as to say Streep’s comment was evidence he was not abusive to others, they did argue the case should be dismissed because it is “fatally overbroad” and would include all women he has ever met.
Lawyers Phyllis Kupferstein and Mary E. Flynn wrote this would include actresses such as Streep and Jennifer Lawrence who have not made allegations of sexual misconduct.
They pointed to Streep saying Weinstein had always been respectful with her during their collaborations in a statement to the press.
They did not mention that Streep also praised the “heroes” who made allegations about his behaviour, which she said was “inexcusable” and an “abuse of power”.
Lawrence told Oprah Winfrey that she had known Weinstein since she was 20 and said “he had only ever been nice to me,” according to the filing written by attorneys Phyllis Kupferstein and Mary Flynn.
They did not mention her adding: “Except for the moments that he wasn’t, and then I called him an a**hole.”
The filing also questioned the veracity of claims that the women who sued were under duress because of threats Weinstein made if they complained. It cited Gwyneth Paltrow as an example, saying she went on to work with Weinstein and win an Oscar for Shakespeare in Love in 1998 after he was accused of harassing her during the filming of Emma in 1994.
“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,” the court papers said.
They were arguing against the New York lawsuit claiming the statute of limitation on allegations do not apply because the accusers were allegedly under duress not to make the claims earlier.
“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,” the lawyers wrote.
The lawsuit, which could potentially involve hundreds of other women, said Weinstein assaulted young women trying to break into Hollywood when they were alone with him and that his former film companies operated like an organised crime group to conceal widespread sexual harassment and assaults.
Representatives for Lawrence, Streep and Paltrow did not immediately reply to messages from The Associated Press seeking comment.
Lawyer Elizabeth Fegan, who filed the lawsuit on behalf of six actresses, said her team looks forward to showing that “Weinstein and his enablers should be held responsible for decades of assaults and cover-ups.” “If Weinstein thinks he will win by twisting women’s words against them, he fails to understand the law on sexual assault and the depravity of his own conduct,” Fegan wrote in reply to an email.
At least 75 women have told the news media that Weinstein harassed, behaved inappropriately toward them or assaulted them.
Weinstein, 65, denies all allegations of non-consensual sex.