Weinstein used actresses names in a legal motion
Both have fired back
Jennifer Lawrence and Meryl Streep are not happy about Harvey Weinstein quoting them in an attempt to get a sexual misconduct lawsuit against him dismissed.
On Tuesday, lawyers for the embattled former Hollywood mogul filed a motion in a New York federal court to dismiss a racketeering suit brought against Weinstein in December by six women.
The group alleges sexual harassment and abuse by the producer, his former company Miramax and its former board members for what they say was organized criminal behavior over a period of years designed to cover up Weinstein’s alleged actions.
Weinstein has been accused by dozens of women of numerous incidents of alleged sexual misconduct over a period of three decades.
Through his spokesperson, the media mogul has consistently denied any instances of “non-consensual” sexual activity.
At the time the women’s suit was filed, Miramax told CNN its current iteration has been independent of the Weinsteins for more than 10 years.
“Miramax joins the entire film community in condemning Harvey Weinstein and his unspeakable actions,” a spokesperson said. “Miramax has been completely independent of Harvey - since he and Bob Weinstein left The Walt Disney Company to found The Weinstein Company. Twelve years and two ownership changes later, Miramax is a very different company. We at Miramax are proud of that difference.”
Harvey Weinstein’s brother Bob Weinstein, along with current and former Weinstein Company board members Dirk Ziff, Tim Sarnoff, Marc Lasry, Tarak Ben Ammar, Lance Maerov, Richard Koenigsberg, Jeff Sackman, James Dolan and Paul Tudor Jones were also named in the suit.
A spokesperson for Dolan said “Mr. Dolan is confident that he acted appropriately in all matters relating to his time on the Weinstein board.”
The others named in the suit either declined to respond to CNN, did not respond at the time of publication or could not be reached for comment.
Harvey Weinstein’s motion argues that the women have no standing for a class action suit because – as drafted – it “would include all women who ever met with Weinstein, regardless of whether they claimed to have suffered any identifiable harm as a result of that meeting.”
“Such women would include, presumably, Jennifer Lawrence, who told Oprah Winfrey she had known Weinstein since she was 20 years old and said ‘he had only ever been nice to me,’ and Meryl Streep, who stated publicly that Weinstein had always been respectful to her in their working relationship,” the motion reads.
Streep, who won a best actress Academy Award in 2012 for her portrayal as British stateswoman Margaret Thatcher in the Weinstein Company release “The Iron Lady,” fired back in a statement to CNN.
“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 exploitive,” she said. “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.”
Likewise Lawrence, who won an Oscar in 2013 for the Weinstein-produced “Silver Linings Playbook,” took Weinstein to task.
“Harvey Weinstein and his company are continuing to do what they have always done which is to take things out of context and use them for their own benefit,” Lawrence said in a statement provided to CNN Thursday. “This is what predators do, and it must stop.”
Lawrence also offered her support to Weinstein’s alleged victims.
“For the record, while I was not victimized 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,” she said. “Time’s up.”
In response, a spokesperson for Weinstein later issued an apology on his behalf for referencing Lawrence and Streep in the court documents.
“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,” the statement read. “Mr. Weinstein acknowledges the valuable input both Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lawrence have contributed to this conversation and apologizes,”
CNN’s Hadas Gold contributed to this story.