Yesterday we brought you up to speed on the social media storm unleashed by actor/activist Rose McGowan over the course of last week — and specifically the pivotal (and since deleted) tweet she issued on Saturday:
McGowan took aim at Meryl Streep, using her as an example of an actor who remained silent and worked for “Pig Monster” Harvey Weinstein. And while the debate raged online about how feminists should support or criticize other women for their own stances, we didn’t get to hear Meryl’s reaction to the hubbub. Until now.
Meryl apparently got her number to Rose in hopes of setting the record straight. She waited all day by the phone, but never got a call. And so she released a statement publicly instead. And honestly, she raises some interesting points. Not just that she emphatically didn’t know what Harvey was doing to women, but that it actually was in Harvey’s interest to keep people like her in the dark — because working with them lent him credibility. That, in fact, an association with someone like Streep could become another tool in his arsenal — a lure, similar to the way he allegedly lied about sleeping with actors like Gwyneth Paltrow. There is a narrative that has largely gone unquestioned as these truths have come to light, which is: it was an open secret. Everyone heard about it, so they knew, so they are complicit. And sure, a lot of the time that’s probably the case. Certainly plenty of people suspected something was amiss. But for men as calculating as Weinstein, it also makes sense that they would do what they could to secure their power. His pattern of abuse wasn’t a compulsion, and I can believe that he covered it up with the same level of precision that he executed it.
Here is her full statement (emphasis ours):
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.
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.
I don’t know where Harvey lives, nor has he ever been to my home.
I have never in my life been invited to his hotel room.
I have been to his office once, for a meeting with Wes Craven for “Music of the Heart” in 1998.
HW distributed movies I made with other people.
HW was not a filmmaker; he was often a producer, primarily a marketer of films made by other people — some of them great, some not great. But not every actor, actress, and director who made films that HW distributed knew he abused women, or that he raped Rose in the 90s, other women before and others after, until they told us. We did not know that women’s silence was purchased by him and his enablers.
HW needed us not to know this, because our association with him bought him credibility, an ability to lure young, aspiring women into circumstances where they would be hurt.
He needed me much more than I needed him and he made sure I didn’t know. Apparently he hired ex Mossad operators to protect this information from becoming public. Rose and the scores of other victims of these powerful, moneyed, ruthless men face an adversary for whom Winning, at any and all costs, is the only acceptable outcome. That’s why a legal defense fund for victims is currently being assembled to which hundreds of good hearted people in our business will contribute, to bring down the bastards, and help victims fight this scourge within.
Rose assumed and broadcast something untrue about me, and I wanted to let her know the truth. Through friends who know her, I got my home phone number to her the minute I read the headlines. I sat by that phone all day yesterday and this morning, hoping to express both my deep respect for her and others’ bravery in exposing the monsters among us, and my sympathy for the untold, ongoing pain she suffers. No one can bring back what entitled bosses like Bill O’Reilly, Roger Ailes, and HW took from the women who endured attacks on their bodies and their ability to make a living … And I hoped that she would give me a hearing. She did not, but I hope she reads this.
I am truly sorry she sees me as an adversary, because we are both, together with all the women in our business, standing in defiance of the same implacable foe: a status quo that wants so badly to return to the bad old days, the old ways where women were used, abused and refused entry into the decision-making, top levels of the industry. That’s where the cover-ups convene. Those rooms must be disinfected, and integrated, before anything even begins to change.