Meryl Streep has broken her silence on the allegations that Harvey Weinstein routinely sexually harassed women, which some have referred to as an open secret in Hollywood.
The A-list actress, who once referred to Weinstein as "God" in an Oscar acceptance speech, said in a statement to The Huffington Post Monday that the news appalled her and that she didn't know the media mogul had settled with at least eight women, as The New York Times reported last week. On Sunday, Weinstein was fired from the production company he founded with his brother.
"The disgraceful news about Harvey Weinstein has appalled those of us whose work he championed, and those whose good and worthy causes he supported," Streep said. "The intrepid women who raised their voices to expose this abuse are our heroes."
She added: "I didn't know about these other offenses: I did not know about his financial settlements with actresses and colleagues; I did not know about his having meetings in his hotel room, his bathroom, or other inappropriate, coercive acts."
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Streep is the most prominent movie star to condemn Weinstein's actions, which were the subject of rumors for years. Actress Ashley Judd was one of the women who spoke to the Times for its report, saying he made advances on her while dressed in a bathrobe for what she thought was a business meeting in his hotel.
The Times reported that Actress Rose McGowan reached a six-figure settlement with Weinstein after an episode in a hotel room.
Weinstein has issued an apology for "the way I've behaved with colleagues," but his lawyers have threatened to sue the newspaper, claiming its report was false and defamatory.
Weinstein, who had taken an indefinite leave of absence from The Weinstein Company, was fired "in light of new information about misconduct by Harvey Weinstein that has emerged in the past few days," according to a company statement.
An attorney for Weinstein didn't return messages from The Associated Press Sunday.
TV anchor Lauren Sivan, who came forward with her own story of lewd encounter with Weinstein after the initial report, told Megyn Kelly on the "Today" show Monday that it was Weinstein's way of apologizing that prompted her to go public.
"There's no remorse, there was no even acknowledgement of the type of behavior that was going on," Sivan said. "I mean, if he did this with me, who was just a stranger who is not an actress in Hollywood and doesn't need anything from him, I can only imagine how many other women something like this has happened to."
McGowan, who didn't comment for the initial Times story, has been vocal on Twitter since it was released, thanking the reporters and editors who worked on it "for your incredible work" that saved lives.
On Monday, she tweeted that the reason few men who have worked with Weinstein have taken a stand against harassment is that "they are weak and scared."