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Meryl Streep Deflects Criticism of Response to Harvey Weinstein Allegations: ‘I Want to Hear About the Silence of Melania Trump’

The actress wants other powerful women to speak out about the #MeToo movement, but her reasoning isn't entirely clear.

Meryl StreepSpecial Post-Tonys Broadway Dinner Reception in Celebration of Paramount Pictures 'Florence Foster Jenkins', New York, America - 13 Jun 2016

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In a New York Times interview alongside her “The Post” co-star Tom Hanks, actress Meryl Streep further reckons with questions about her reaction to the widespread allegations against former super-producer Harvey Weinstein, with whom the Oscar-winning actress worked with on a number of occasions. Although Streep has become increasingly more vocal since what was assumed to be initial silence, the questions have not abated, though she’s now eager for other women — specifically Melania and Ivanka Trump — to speak out next.

When asked about the expectation that Streep needed to say something when the Weinstein allegations first broke, she told the outlet, “I found out about this on a Friday and went home deep into my own life. And then somebody told me that on ‘Morning Joe’ they were screaming that I haven’t responded yet. I don’t have a Twitter thing or – handle, whatever. And I don’t have Facebook. I really had to think. Because it really underlined my own sense of cluelessness, and also how evil, deeply evil, and duplicitous, a person he was, yet such a champion of really great work.”

Streep added, “You make movies. You think you know everything about everybody. So much gossip. You don’t know anything. People are so inscrutable on a certain level. And it’s a shock. Some of my favorite people have been brought down by this, and he’s not one of them.”

When asked more specifically about what she knew about Weinstein’s alleged misdeeds, Streep said, “Well, honestly for me in terms of Harvey, I really didn’t know. I did think he was having girlfriends. But when I heard rumors about actresses, I thought that that was a way of denigrating the actress and her ability to get the job. That really raised my hackles.”

She added, “I didn’t know that he was in any way abusing people. He never asked me to a hotel room. I don’t know how his life was conducted without people intimately knowing about it.”

The Times pressed the issue, asking what Streep made of the fact that people were waiting for her specifically to speak out on the allegations. She said, “I don’t want to hear about the silence of me. I want to hear about the silence of Melania Trump. I want to hear from her. She has so much that’s valuable to say. And so does Ivanka. I want her to speak now.”

The actress has also recently drawn the ire of outspoken artist and activist Rose McGowan — another alleged victim of Weinstein — who criticized Streep for taking part in the upcoming Golden Globes protest against Hollywood sexual harassment and abuse. McGowan put Streep and the protest on blast in a tweet published December 16. News broke last week that actresses were expected to wear all black on the Golden Globes red carpet to protest harassment and assault.

Streep responded to McGowan in an official statement in which she wrote that it hurt to be attacked by McGowan, noting that she wasn’t “deliberately silent.” “I didn’t know,” Streep says of Weinstein’s behavior. “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.”

Last month, Streep’s face appeared on posters in Los Angeles that declared “She knew,” and later an alt-right artist named Sabo revealed to The Guardian that he and two collaborators are responsible for creating and putting up the posters. The 49-year-old former U.S. marine says the posters were an act of retaliation against Streep, who has been vocally anti-Trump in the past as well.

Streep also told the Times she has experienced harassment herself when she was a younger actress, but she does not go into details. Head over to The New York Times to read her full interview.

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