'I didn't tacitly approve of rape': Meryl Streep responds to Rose McGowan

Almost 48 hours after actress and advocate Rose McGowan tweeted her disgust over the idea of actresses wearing an all-black dress code to The Golden Globes, singling out Meryl Streep as a hypocrite for "happily working with The Pig Monster" [Weinstein] and accepting a "fake award", Streep has hit back.

In a lengthy statement issued to The Huffington Post, the acclaimed actress has said she had no idea of Harvey Weinstein's numerous sexual assaults because, although he produced films she acted in, he was rarely in contact.

In response to McGowan's accusation that Streep was "deliberately silent" Streep says "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.

Streep goes on to express hurt and sympathy for McGowan, who has since deleted her tweet.

"Rose assumed and broadcast something untrue about me, and I wanted to let her know the truth.

"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."

While it's tempting to dismiss this frank exchange between two women as "in-fighting" while the real bad guys get away, it's actually a sign of healthy, functioning, feminist discourse.

Women don't have to agree; and debate, in all its forms, is, as much as any protest, a sign of progress. If these discussions are not held out in the open, using the same form of social media employed by the President of the United States, then the narrative, of covering up, of whispering but never revealing hurt and trauma, will never come to light.

McGowan is dealing with decades of trauma; not only has she endured rape, and its ensuing cover-up, but as recently as this year she was followed by high-level spy agencies determined to silence her. Let's allow her to find her voice, no matter how emotional it might seem. This doesn't automatically make Streep the bad guy; she's entitled to defend herself. In fact, public debate can only assist in bringing to light not just important, ongoing issues around complicity, but how others in the community might best make more informed opinions.

Update: Rose McGowan has just responded to Streep via her twitter account, saying

The Marchesa line was beneath me and I'm sorry for that. Seeing that picture of Alyssa Milano with GC [Georgina Chapman, Marchesa designer and estranged wife of Weinstein] has ignited something in me that I can't quite articulate. There is no map for this road I'm on, I will f-- up. Peace be with you, go with Goddess.

Streep's full statement is below.

"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.

"I don't know where Harvey lives, nor has he ever been to my home.

I have never in my life been invited to his hotel room.

I have been to his office once, for a meeting with Wes Craven for "Music of the Heart" in 1998.

HW distributed movies I made with other people.

HW was not a filmmaker; he was often a producer, primarily a marketer of films made by other people- some of them great, some not great. But not every actor, actress, and director who made films that HW distributed knew he abused women, or that he raped Rose in the 90s, other women before and others after, until they told us. We did not know that women's silence was purchased by him and his enablers.

HW needed us not to know this, because our association with him bought him credibility, an ability to lure young, aspiring women into circumstances where they would be hurt.

He needed me much more than I needed him and he made sure I didn't know. Apparently he hired ex Mossad operators to protect this information from becoming public. Rose and the scores of other victims of these powerful, moneyed, ruthless men face an adversary for whom Winning, at any and all costs, is the only acceptable outcome. That's why a legal defense fund for victims is currently being assembled to which hundreds of good hearted people in our business will contribute, to bring down the bastards, and help victims fight this scourge within.

Rose assumed and broadcast something untrue about me, and I wanted to let her know the truth. 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. No one can bring back what entitled bosses like Bill O'Reilly, Roger Ailes, and HW took from the women who endured attacks on their bodies and their ability to make a living.. And I hoped that she would give me a hearing. She did not, but I hope she reads this.

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. That's where the cover-ups convene. Those rooms must be disinfected, and integrated, before anything even begins to change."

This story 'I didn't tacitly approve of rape': Meryl Streep responds to Rose McGowan first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.