Weinstein’s attorneys, Phyllis Kupferstein and Mary Flynn, argued in a motion filed Tuesday that the proposed plaintiffs’ class was too broad. According to the attorneys, it would include every actress who ever auditioned for Weinstein or discussed a role in one of his films, along with any woman who ever met him at a party or served him an hors d’oeuvre, regardless of whether those women were ever harassed. By way of an example, Kupferstein and Flynn noted that such a broad class definition would include actresses like Streep and Lawrence, who have stated that Weinstein never sexually harassed them.
That did not sit well with Streep and Lawrence, who objected to being invoked in Weinstein’s defense.
“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,” Streep said in a statement. “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.”
Lawrence issued her own statement blasting Weinstein for “continuing to do what they have always done which is to take things out of context and use them for their own benefit.”
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Weinstein backed off, issuing a statement Thursday apologizing to the actresses and promising not to mention them by name again.
“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,” his spokesperson 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 apologizes. 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.”