Entertainment

Meryl Streep slams 'pathetic' Weinstein lawyers

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Harvey Weinstein produced a string of films that starred Meryl Streep

Harvey Weinstein has apologised to Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lawrence after his lawyers used their names in his defence against a legal action.

His lawyers want a class action lawsuit dismissed for being too broad and used favourable quotes from the two stars.

But Streep said the way they used the fact he did not abuse her “as evidence that he was not abusive with many OTHER women is pathetic and exploitative”.

Lawrence said he had taken things “out of context”.

Six women are suing Weinstein and the “Weinstein Sexual Enterprise”, which they say includes his brother Bob and their film studio The Weinstein Company.

Weinstein has been accused of sexual harassment and assault by dozens of women. He denies all allegations of non-consensual sex.

In seeking to get the lawsuit dismissed, Mr Weinstein’s lawyers quoted Lawrence as saying in a media interview that the Hollywood mogul had “only ever been nice to me”.

However they did not mention her adding, “except for the moments that he wasn’t” – times when she said she would confront him verbally.

In a statement Lawrence said: “This is what predators do, and it must stop.”

A spokeswoman for Mr Weinstein said he “acknowledges the valuable input both Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lawrence have contributed to this conversation and apologises”.

Mr Weinstein had directed that in the future no specific names of “former associates” be used by his lawyers, the spokeswoman said.

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Jennifer Lawrence and Gwyneth Paltrow were named in the Weinstein legal team’s defence

The women’s lawsuit describes Weinstein as a predator and accuses him of widespread sexual misconduct.

They argue that the statute of limitations on the allegations – a legal time limit within which claims should be filed – does not apply because they were under duress not to make the claims earlier.

Weinstein’s legal team used the names of Streep, Lawrence and Gwyneth Paltrow in papers filed in New York in an attempt to get the case dismissed.

Paltrow has previously said she feared she would be fired after her then-boyfriend Brad Pitt confronted Weinstein in the 1990s.

But the film producer’s lawyers, Phyllis Kupferstein and Mary E Flynn, wrote: “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.”

‘I stand behind victims’

They also selectively quoted from the Lawrence interview.

In a statement, the Hunger Games star said: “Harvey Weinstein and his company are continuing to do what they have always done which is to take things out of context and use them for their own benefit. This is what predators do, and it must stop.

“For the record, while I was not victimised personally by Harvey Weinstein, I stand behind the women who have survived his terrible abuse and I applaud them in using all means necessary to bring him to justice whether through criminal or civil actions. Time’s up.”

‘He will pay’

Weinstein’s lawyers cited quotes Streep gave when the Hollywood sexual harassment scandal unfolded, saying he was “respectful with me in our working relationship, and with many others with whom he worked professionally”.

The lawyers did not mention that the actress also said the women who had spoken out against him were “heroes” and his alleged behaviour was “inexcusable” and an “abuse of power”.

In a new 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.”

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