On Dec. 16, Rose McGowan posted a confrontational tweet taking her fellow actor Meryl Streep to task for what she characterized as hypocrisy and inaction in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein sexual assault and harassment allegations. Now, Streep has responded in a statement to The Huff Post, denying that she had any idea about Weinstein's crimes and calling for women to unite. McGowan has since deleted her original tweet, which read:
"Actresses, like Meryl Streep, who happily worked for The Pig Monster, are wearing black @goldenglobes in a silent protest. YOUR SILENCE is THE problem. You'll accept a fake award breathlessly & affect no real change. I despise your hypocrisy. Maybe you should all wear Marchesa."
Streep, who released a statement condemning Weinstein's alleged behavior shortly after reports of his behavior made news, says it was painful to read McGowan's comments. She is also insistent that she was unaware of Weinstein's alleged crimes for the several decades she worked with him. Her message begins:
"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."
Streep also claims she attempted to reach out directly to McGowan before making the public statement. "Rose assumed and broadcast something untrue about me, and I wanted to let her know the truth," she says. "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." McGowan, Streep says, did not respond.
McGowan's message didn't just prompt a response from Streep — it sparked a debate online soon after it was initially posted. McGowan, who has accused Weinstein of rape, has been a leading voice in the conversation around the Weinstein allegations and #MeToo both as an activist and survivor. But her comments about Streep drew criticism even from some close friends and allies, several of whom disagreed with her approach and found her comments divisive:
THREAD: Rose McGowan is a friend and while I support her kind of movement, I do not support any woman (or man) shaming or taunting the movements of other women who are trying to create change. Telling us to all wear Marchesa? This is beneath you, Rose.— Amber Tamblyn (@ambertamblyn) December 17, 2017
Streep ended her message on a note of unity, writing, "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."
You can read Streep's full statement here. As of press time, McGowan had not acknowledged or responded to Streep's statement on Twitter.