Meryl Streep condemns Harvey Weinstein, claims she didn't know about his 'disgraceful' conduct with women

The three-time Academy Award winner, feminist and philanthropist also praised the women who came forward to tell their stories to The New York Times about allegedly being sexually harassed or otherwise mistreated by Weinstein -- whom Streep once hailed as "God" in an Oscar acceptance speech.

"The disgraceful news about Harvey Weinstein has appalled those of us whose work he championed, and those whose good and worthy causes he supported," said Streep in a statement to Huffington Post. "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 further clarified that she didn't know about financial settlements Weinstein made with actresses and colleagues that were documented in the Times story.

"I did not know about his having meetings in his hotel room, his bathroom, or other inappropriate, coercive acts," she said.

By speaking out against Weinstein, Streep is the first major star to lend support to actresses Ashley Judd and Rose McGowan whose allegations against Weinstein were detailed in the Times story. However, other stars have been remained disturbingly silent.


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Since The Times published its explosive report Thursday, many leading figures in the media and in politics have refused to comment or to issue statements regarding the controversy.

Perhaps that will change, especially after Weinstein's own film company The Weinstein Company fired him on Sunday.

Weinstein was a prominent donor to Democratic candidates, like Hillary Clinton, and to liberal causes. He also was a frequent guest at the White Houses of former Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. Neither the Clintons nor the Obamas have addressed the allegations against a man that Barack Obama called a good friend in 2013 and Michelle Obama praised as a "good person."

However, some leading Democratic lawmakers who received donations from Weinstein, including U.S. Senator Kamala Harris of California, have pledged to donate that money to other causes.

Late-night hosts, including Jimmy Kimmel and Stephen Colbert, steered clear of the scandal on Thursday night. Only Trevor Noah on "The Daily Show" made at most a passing reference to Weinstein.

The right-wing media, as well as a few left-leaning outlets, made note of the fact that these hosts would have been quick to roast Weinstein if he was a conservative or worked for an organization like Fox News. President Donald Trump's son, Donald Trump Jr., took to Twitter to try and force Kimmel to comment on Weinstein, writing "Thoughts on Weinstein?"

But Kimmel shot back, agreeing that Weinstein's behavior is "disgusting," but calling Trump Jr. out for relying on a report in a news outlet that his father has frequently called "failing" and "one-sided." Kimmel also tweeted back the infamous Access Hollywood video in which his father, himself an alleged serial sexual predator, is caught in a recording, bragging about sexually assaulting women and saying he can get away with it because he's a celebrity.

Meanwhile, "Saturday Night Live" Executive Producer Lorne Michaels came under fire for cutting jokes from the show that involved Weinstein. Michaels said he cut the jokes because Weinstein is a "New York thing," meaning that he didn't feel a national audience would appreciate the jokes, according to The New York Times. 

While some Hollywood stars called out Weinstein shortly after The Times story broke, including , younger actors like Lena Dunham and Amber Tamblyn, Streep and other longtime collaborators like Streep and Judi Dench remained silent.

Sharon Waxman, a former New York Times reporter, also alleged in an essay published Sunday in The Wrap that Matt Damon and Russell Crowe, who had films produced and heavily prompted by Weinstein, joined efforts to pressure her to not report on sexual misconduct allegations back in 2004.

In her statement, Streep said she found it hard to believe that if "everybody knew" about the allegations, investigative reporters would have neglected to write about them for decades.

However, writers like Waxman and Hollywood Reporter Editor at Large Kim Masters have since said that they had in fact tried to nail the story over the years but either faced women who were afraid to speak up against Weinstein or their publications were afraid to displease someone as powerful as the force behind critical and box office hits like "Pulp Fiction," "Shakespeare in Love," "The King's Speech" or "Chicago."

"It has been, actually, an open secret, more and less," Masters said in an interview with NPR. "And, you know, many people in our line of work -- you know, some people are saying, 'Why wasn't this story broken sooner?' Believe me, many of us have tried literally over the course of the last couple of decades."

Streep concluded by saying, "The behavior is inexcusable, but the abuse of power familiar."

But she expressed hope that women sharing their stories with "the watchdog media" will "ultimately change the game."