Meryl Streep Calls Out Melania & Ivanka Trump For Their Silence On #MeToo

In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein allegations, one question with huge-reaching implications has been asked: who knew, and when?

Meryl Streep, for better or worse (and it’s probably worse), has found herself largely the target of these accusations. Posters that showed a picture of her posing with Weinstein, with “She knew” printed across her face, were splashed across streets near her Los Angeles home. Rose McGowan has accused Streep of knowing about her alleged rape – accusations for which she later apologised for.

In a new interview with the New York Times, Streep has responded to the anger from people who waited for her to comment on Weinstein, and turned her eye towards Melania and Ivanka Trump.

“They were waiting for you [to comment],” posited the NY Times.

“I know,” she replied. “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.”

She said she was shocked to learn about the allegations against someone she has worked closely with (including in The Iron Lady, in which Streep earned a Golden Globe for her portrayal of Margaret Thatcher; she thanked Weinstein in her acceptance speech).

“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 favourite people have been brought down by this, and he’s not one of them.”

When pressed to comment further on the fact that people were waiting for her, specifically, she turned the focus onto the women closest to Donald Trump, who has been accused of sexual misconduct by 20 women. (He’s always denied these specific allegations, and the White House‘s official position is that these women are lying.)

“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.”

Going into specifics, she described how she’d always suspected Weinstein was being unfaithful in his marriage, but believed that rumours about actresses “was a way of denigrating the actress and her ability to get the job. That really raised my hackles. I didn’t know he was in any way abusing people. He never asked me to a hotel room. I don’t know how his life conducted without people intimately knowing about it.”

She also revealed that she had “experienced things, mostly when I was young and pretty. Nobody comes on to me [now]. So I wouldn’t have had that more recently. But back in the day, when everybody was doing cocaine, there was a lot of [expletive] behaviour that was inexcusable. But now that people are older, and more sober, there has to be forgiveness, and that’s the way I feel about it.”

She was one of more than 1,000 women in the entertainment industry who launched Time’s Up this week, a comprehensive campaign to combat sexual harassment across all industries.

“We want all survivors of sexual harassment, everywhere, to be heard, to be believed, and to know that accountability is possible,” said the letter, which was cosigned by members Ashley Judd, Emma Stone, Reese Witherspoon, Constance Wu, American Ferrera, Ava DuVernay and Kathleen Kennedy, among others.

Streep is a major donor to the campaign, along with Witherspoon, Shonda Rhimes, Oprah Winfrey, Jennifer Anniston, Steven Spielberg, according to the fundraiser page, which at the time of writing is just shy of its US $15 million goal.

To read Streep’s full interview, head over to the NY Times.

If you would like to access support for issues around sexual harassment or assault, please call 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732.