Harvey Weinstein has apologised for citing Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lawrence in an attempt to get a class action lawsuit against him dismissed. Lawrence hit back at the disgrace mogul, calling him a “predator” after Weinstein’s lawyers used favourable quotes about him from the Hollywood stars.
Six women are suing Weinstein and the “Weinstein Sexual Enterprise” – which they say includes his brother Bob and their co-founded studio The Weinstein Company – saying they conspired to conceal his widespread alleged sexual harassment.
A spokeswoman for Weinstein said: “Mr Weinstein has been informed that his civil counsel responded in court to a class action lawsuit which improperly sought to include all actresses who had previously worked with Mr Weinstein, even where those actresses have made no claim of wrongdoing.
“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. “Once again, moving forward, Mr Weinstein has advised his counsel to not include specific names of former associates; and to avoid whenever possible, even if they are in the public record.”
Weinstein’s lawyers had selectively pointed to Lawrence saying in a previous interview that the disgraced movie mogul “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.”
In a statement, Lawrence said: “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.
“This is what predators do, and it must stop.”
She added: “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.”
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.
While the lawyers did not go as far as to say Streep’s comment was evidence he was not abusive to others, they did argue the case should be dismissed because it is “fatally overbroad” and would include all women he has ever met.
Lawyers Phyllis Kupferstein and Mary E Flynn wrote that this would include actresses such as Streep and Lawrence who have not made allegations of sexual misconduct. They 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.
The original lawsuit argued the statute of limitations on the allegations does not apply because the alleged victims were under duress not to make the claims earlier. Weinstein, 65, has been accused of sexual harassment and assault by dozens of women. He denies all allegations of non-consensual sex.