Los Angeles — Harvey Weinstein has asked a judge to dismiss a federal sexual misconduct lawsuit against him and invoked the words of some A-list actresses in his defense.
Weinstein's lawyers filed a response Tuesday in federal court in New York saying the possible class-action case should be rejected because the alleged assaults took place too long ago.
His attorneys also cite comments by Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lawrence in support of Weinstein. They say Gwyneth Paltrow worked with Weinstein and won an Oscar after he's accused of harassing her in an earlier project.
Meryl Streep releases statement
Streep says Weinstein invoking her name in his defense in a sexual misconduct lawsuit is "pathetic."
Weinstein's attorneys asked a judge to dismiss a federal sexual misconduct lawsuit against him and in their filing cited Streep comments saying Weinstein had always been respectful in their working relationship.
Streep then released a statement saying it is "pathetic and exploitative" for Weinstein to suggest that because he was not sexually inappropriate or physically abusive to her, it means he was not abusive with other women.
Streep says "the criminal actions he is accused of conducting on the bodies of these women are his responsibility."
The lawsuit was filed by six women who claim Weinstein and his former film companies conspired to conceal his widespread sexual harassment and assaults.
Representatives of the actresses named in the response did not immediately comment.
A spokesperson for Harvey Weinstein gave the following statement to Channel24:
Mr. Weinstein has been informed that his civil counsel responded in court to a class action lawsuit which improperly sought to include all actresses who had previously worked with Mr. Weinstein, even where those actresses have made no claim of wrongdoing.
Even though Mr. Weinstein has worked with hundreds of actresses and actors who had only professional and mutually respectful experiences with him, Mr. Weinstein has directed in the future that no specific names be used by his counsel, even where those actors have made previous public statements about him.
Mr. Weinstein acknowledges the valuable input both Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lawrence have contributed to this conversation and apologises. Once again, moving forward, Mr. Weinstein has advised his counsel to not include specific names of former associates; and to avoid whenever possible, even if they are in the public record.
A previous version of the article did not include a statement from Weinstein who did not respond by time of publication.