Meryl Streep had the perfect response to the Harvey Weinstein scandal and subsequent sexual harassment allegations that have swept Hollywood. Streep, known as one of the greatest actresses of our generation, is also known for being incredibly sharp and articulate. So it came as a surprise to absolutely no one that the talented actress was able to eloquently summarize the heart of the issue when it comes to the Harvey Weinstein scandal: lack of representation.
Streep was at a Buzzfeed News panel in New York supporting her new movie The Post — alongside co-star Tom Hanks and director Steven Spielberg — when she pointed out that if more women had been in a position of power, the accusations against Weinstein wouldn’t have been swept under the rug for so long. “If the boards of the company were half female, there wouldn’t ever have been payoffs to anybody. None of this — the shenanigans wouldn’t have occurred,” said Streep.
The actress brings up an important factor in the scandal, yet it’s an issue that’s not being addressed as much as it should be. Streep emphasizes the lack of equal gender representation in positions of power as a key contributor to sexual misconduct being normalized in the workforce. Sexual harassment is not something that should be tolerated on any level, and every woman in Hollywood or otherwise should feel safe and respected in their place of work. Yet, following the Harvey Weinstein scandal many women have revealed their own similar stories of sexual misconduct in the #MeToo movement which encourages women to be open and supportive of one another while sharing their own experiences with sexual harassment.
Streep pointed out that the numbers supporting this lack of representation and gender equality are staggering. The star shared that only 17-20% of boards are comprised of women “from the Senate to the Supreme Court.” Streep continued, “We have to break in and make it 50/50 at the decision-making level because everything filters down from there.”
Streep has been outspoken when it comes to the allegations against Weinstein from the beginning. The actress has been involved in several productions distributed by the Weinstein Company including The Iron Lady for which she won an Oscar. “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 in a statement released by her publicist. “The intrepid women who raised their voices to expose this abuse are our heroes.” Although Streep stated she was one of the few in Hollywood who had never heard rumours of Weinstein’s inappropriate behaviour previously, she called Weinstein’s actions “disgraceful,” “inexcusable,” and an “abuse of power.”
The Academy Award-winning actress also shared in a Vogue interview with Anna Wintour that following the Harvey Weinstein scandal she called a family meeting to discuss the issue with her three daughters, aged 34, 31 and 26. Streep admitted in the interview that Weinstein is their most common topic of conversation at the dinner table these days. “Harvey Weinstein, that’s all we talk about. It’s horrible,” she told Wintour. “We want them to be free, we want them to be proud, we want them to be female. You put them in danger by not informing them about the male gaze and how it works on young girls,” said Streep.
Meryl Streep remains a powerful and key player in the fight against sexual harassment in Hollywood. “What powerful people do immediately is try and control dissent, or to suppress it, or get rid of it,” stressed Streep at the Bzfeed News us panel. “Power tries to suppress the truth, that’s just what happens. In Hollywood, on Wall Street, and in the news media as well. So everybody has to stay alert, and awake, and fight against it.”
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