LOS ANGELES: Harvey Weinstein has apologised for using statements by Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lawrence in an effort to dismiss a class action sexual misconduct lawsuit against him.
Six women sued Weinstein and what they call the ‘Weinstein Sexual Enterprise’, which they say includes his brother Bob and their co-founded studio The Weinstein Company, claiming they conspired to conceal Weinstein’s widespread alleged sexual harassment.
The plaintiffs argue that, due to the scale of sexual misconduct allegations against Weinstein, the producer’s “sexual enterprise” should be considered an organised crime group.
Lawyers for the Hollywood mogul filed a motion to dismiss the suit on Tuesday, arguing that it was “fatally overboard”, and would apply to “all women who ever met with Weinstein, regardless of whether they claimed to have suffered any identifiable harm”.
They pointed to Lawrence saying in a previous interview that Weinstein “had only ever been nice to me”, although they did not mention her adding: “Except for the moments that he wasn’t, and then I called him an asshole.”
Both Streep and Lawrence have spoken out against the motion filed by Weinstein’s lawyers, and the producer has since apologised.
A spokeswoman for Weinstein said: “Even though Mr Weinstein has worked with hundreds of actresses and actors who had only professional and mutually respectful experiences with him, Mr Weinstein has directed in the future that no specific names be used by his counsel, even where those actors have made previous public statements about him. Mr Weinstein acknowledges the valuable input both Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lawrence have contributed to this conversation and apologises.”
In response to the motion, Lawrence described Weinstein as a “predator”.
“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,” she added in a statement.
Her comment follows Streep firing back at Weinstein, who said the action was “pathetic and exploitative” after his lawyers cited her saying she was never harassed by the producer in an attempt to shut the case down.
Weinstein’s lawyers pointed to Streep saying Weinstein had always been respectful with her during their collaborations in a statement to the press.
They did not mention that Streep also praised the “heroes” who made allegations about his behaviour, which she said was “inexcusable” and an “abuse of power”.
Weinstein’s lawyers also tried to undermine the lawsuit’s claims by saying Gwyneth Paltrow went on to work with him again after he allegedly harassed her.
Weinstein, 65, has been accused of sexual harassment and assault by dozens of women. He denies all allegations of non-consensual sex.