After allegations against Harvey Weinstein sparked a domino effect of sexual harassment and assault accusations in Hollywood, people needed someone to turn to. For many, that person was Meryl Streep. Perhaps it's her status as an icon in Hollywood that led people to look to her for guidance — and for Rose McGowan to accuse her of being complicit — but the sudden attention apparently took the actress by surprise.
"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," Streep told The New York Times in an interview alongside Tom Hanks for their new movie The Post. "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 believes she's not the person whose silence warrants scrutiny. Instead, she directed the Times to another woman. Or rather, women.
"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," Streep said. "And so does Ivanka. I want her to speak now."
To be fair, Streep hasn't stayed silent. During a speech at the annual awards for the Committee to Protect Journalists in November, The Daily Beast reports that Streep told the audience that she "revere[s] the people" who have stood up to tell the truth, going on to say that she's had her own experiences with terror and violence.
However, those aren't things she feels comfortable opening up about now because she doesn't want to "ruin somebody’s mature life."
"I have experienced things, mostly when I was young and pretty," she told the Times. "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] behavior 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."
Essentially, this conversation does not, and should not, fall onto one person, which is why the women of Hollywood celebrated the new year with #TimesUp, the follow up to #MeToo supported by 300 women in Hollywood including Reese Witherspoon, Shonda Rhimes, America Ferrera, Ashley Judd, Eva Longoria, Amber Tamblyn, Kerry Washington, Lena Waithe, Natalie Portman, and Emma Stone. The campaign, which has already raised $13 million for a legal defence fund for survivors, took out a full-page an in The New York Times on January 1 outlining their goals, which include gender equality in studios and talent agencies, discouragement of non-disclosure agreements, and a push for harsher legislation against companies that protect those who've committed sexual assault.
Rather than sinking into counter-productive squabbles amongst our fellow women, #TimesUp proves it's better to instead come together and accomplish more than pointing fingers ever could.
Refinery29 has reached out to Streep for comment.
If you have experienced sexual violence and are in need of crisis support, please call theRAINN Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).
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