Meryl Streep has condemned Harvey Weinstein’s lawyers for using her name in his defence against legal action being brought by six women.
The women are bringing a class action lawsuit against the disgraced producer.
His lawyers want it dismissed because it is too broad, arguing that actresses such as Streep haven’t accused him.
But Streep said the way they used the fact he didn’t abuse her “as evidence that he was not abusive with many OTHER women is pathetic and exploitative”.
The 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.
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, Jennifer 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.”
They also pointed to an interview in which Lawrence said Weinstein “had only ever been nice to me” – but didn’t include her subsequent comments: “Except for the moments that he wasn’t, and then I called him an asshole.”
And they 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 didn’t mention that the actress also said the women who had spoken out against him were “heroes” and his 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.”