Despite her recent insistence to the contrary, a new series of Meryl Streep posters claim "she knew" about Harvey Weinstein's alleged sexual misconduct. Streep — who came under fire this week after fellow actor Rose McGowan slammed her for keeping quiet about Weinstein's alleged actions — has been essentially accused of being a silent bystander (or, perhaps a supposed enabler, even) by an anonymous Los Angeles-based street artist(s).
In a series of glaring, Barbara Kruger-inspired posters that cropped up across L.A. on Tuesday, Dec. 19, Streep is pictured grinning beside Weinstein with a red strip plastered across her face that reads, in bold text, "She knew." (Bustle reached out to Streep's rep for comment on the posters, but did not receive an immediate response.)
According to The Hollywood Reporter, a handful of the same blown-up, black-and-white image were posted up in several locations before dawn broke on Tuesday morning. It seems their respective placements were deliberate. The posters reportedly appeared in the near vicinity Streep's home in Pasadena (a lofty suburb situated just outside of L.A. proper), near the SAG-AFTRA building in L.A.'s glitzy Mid-Wilshire neighborhood, and across from the 20th Century Fox studio lot. (Fox is the production company that billed Streep's upcoming film, The Post, which opens on Jan. 11.)
The posters refer to the accusations (which Streep has since denied) that she consciously remained silent about Weinstein's alleged decades-long history of serial sexual assault. (Weinstein has denied all allegations of non-consensual sex through a spokesperson. He also released a statement to the Times in October, saying, "I appreciate the way I've behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologize for it.")
McGowan claims she was allegedly raped by Weinstein, and has been exceedingly vocal about the dangers of staying silent, ever since the Oct. 5 New York Times report blew the lid off the now-debased movie mogul's alleged behaviors. (Weinstein has not responded directly to McGowan's allegations, but previously denied all accusations of nonconsensual sex.)
In a tweet that has since been deleted from McGowan's Twitter, the actor called out Streep directly for her perceived "hypocrisy." (She's referring to Streep's reported plans to wear black to the 2018 Golden Globe Awards, alongside other actors — a sort of silent protest/solidarity move to stand up for victims of sexual assault.) According to The Huffington Post, McGowan's tweet read:
"Actresses, like Meryl Streep, who happily worked for The Pig Monster, are wearing black @goldenglobes in a silent protest. YOUR SILENCE is THE problem. You'll accept a fake award breathlessly & affect no real chance. I despise your hypocrisy. Maybe you should all wear Marchesa."
Marchesa, for the record, is the luxury clothing brand established by Weinstein's wife, Georgina Chapman.
When the news about Weinstein first broke in October, Streep released a statement to Huffington Post that read, in part:
"The disgraceful news about Harvey Weinstein has appalled those of us whose work he championed, and those whose good and worthy causes he supported. The intrepid women who raised their voices to expose this abuse are our heroes.
One thing can be clarified. Not everybody knew."
In a new statement issued to Huffington Post by Streep's publicist on Monday, Dec. 18, the Oscar winner responded to McGowan's denunciation. In the statement, Streep said that "it hurt to be attacked by Rose McGowan" in such a public way. Still, Streep insisted that she never knew about Weinstein's behavior. "I want to let [McGowan] know I did not know about Weinstein’s crimes, not in the ‘90s when he attacked her, or through subsequent decades when he proceeded to attack others," the statement said. "I wasn’t deliberately silent. I didn’t know. I don’t tacitly approve of rape. I didn’t know." (Bustle reached out to McGowan's reps for comment following the release of Streep's statement, but has not received a response.)
Streep also claimed that she has never been to Weinstein's home (or been invited to his hotel room), nor has he ever been to hers. According to the statement, Streep has no knowledge of where Weinstein's home is even located. She only cited one occasion on which she entered Weinstein's office: "for a meeting with Wes Craven for 'Music of the Heart' in 1998."
"He needed me much more than I needed him and he made sure I didn’t know," the statement continued, claiming that Weinstein used his association with Streep as a means of "buying" himself credibility, which he then used "to lure young, aspiring women into circumstances where they would be hurt."
Though there has been some speculation about the identity of the artists behind the "she knew" posters, their name(s) remain unknown.
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, call the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673) or visit online.rainn.org.