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The last few months of 2017 saw several powerful men in Hollywood (and other industries) brought down by sexual misconduct scandals. Allegations against producer Harvey Weinstein kicked off the #MeToo movement and brought the issue of sexual assault and harassment to the forefront.
Immediately following Weinstein's scandal, many in Hollywood spoke out to denounce the producer. In October, Meryl Streep released a statement (opens in new tab) in response to the news.
"The disgraceful news about Harvey Weinstein has appalled those of us whose work he championed, and those whose good and worthy causes he supported," Streep began in a statement published by The Huffington Post (opens in new tab). "The intrepid women who raised their voices to expose this abuse are our heroes."
In December, actress Rose McGowan publicly criticized Meryl Streep for continuing to work with Weinstein in spite of his reputation.
In a now-deleted tweet, McGowan wrote (opens in new tab), "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 responded to the tweet in a statement.
"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 (opens in new tab) following McGowan's tweet. "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."
Not everyone was satisfied with the Oscar-winner's responses to the scandal and now, in a new interview with The New York Times (opens in new tab), she has addressed the concerns that she didn't respond properly to the news of the scandal.
"I found out about this on a Friday and went home deep into my own life," she said. "And then somebody told me that on Morning Joe they were screaming that I haven’t responded yet. I don’t have a Twitter thing or–handle, whatever. And I don’t have Facebook. I really had to think. Because it really underlined my own sense of cluelessness, and also how evil, deeply evil, and duplicitous, a person he was, yet such a champion of really great work."
She went on to reiterate that she didn't know the extend of Weinstein's misconduct.
"In terms of Harvey, I really didn’t know," she said. "I did think he was having girlfriends. But when I heard rumors about actresses, I thought that that was a way of denigrating the actress and her ability to get the job. That really raised my hackles. I didn’t know that he was in any way abusing people. He never asked me to a hotel room. I don’t know how his life was conducted without people intimately knowing about it."
However, Streep's comments still left something to be desired. She indirectly referenced critics who accused her of being silently complicit with Weinstein's behavior by calling for people to focus on the silent of the first lady and first daughter instead of her.
"I don’t want to hear about the silence of me," she said. "I want to hear about the silence of Melania Trump. I want to hear from her. She has so much that’s valuable to say. And so does Ivanka. I want her to speak now."
Kayleigh Roberts is a freelance writer and editor with more than 10 years of professional experience. Her byline has appeared in Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, ELLE, Harper’s Bazaar, The Atlantic, Allure, Entertainment Weekly, MTV, Bustle, Refinery29, Girls’ Life Magazine, Just Jared, and Tiger Beat, among other publications. She's a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.
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