In a statement provided to The Huffington Post and confirmed by ABC News, Streep admitted that while McGowan's criticism stung, she wanted her to know that she did not know about the allegations that have come to light about Weinstein over the past few months.
Streep also noted that she's asked friends of McGowan to put them in touch, but she has yet to hear back from the actress.
"I wasn’t deliberately silent. I didn’t know. I don’t tacitly approve of rape. I didn’t know. I don’t like young women being assaulted. I didn’t know this was happening," Streep said in the statement. "I am truly sorry she sees me as an adversary, because we are both, together with all the women in our business, standing in defiance of the same implacable foe: a status quo that wants so badly to return to the bad old days, the old ways where women were used, abused and refused entry into the decision-making, top levels of the industry. That’s where the cover-ups convene. Those rooms must be disinfected, and integrated, before anything even begins to change.”
"Actresses, like Meryl Streep, who happily worked for The Pig Monster, are wearing black @GoldenGlobes in a silent protest," she wrote, referring to Weinstein. "YOUR SILENCE is THE problem. You’ll accept a fake award breathlessly & affect no real change. I despise your hypocrisy."
Though Weinstein has denied all allegations of non-consensual sex in several statements obtained by ABC News, The New York Times has reported that McGowan and Weinstein reached an undisclosed settlement in 1997 after an alleged incident in a hotel room.
In her statement, Streep, 68, who first spoke out against Weinstein in October, noted that unlike many of the women who have accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct, she had "never in my life been invited to his hotel room," and had only taken one meeting with him at his office, in 1998.
She also stated that she, and others, "did not know that women's silence was purchased by [Weinstein] and his enablers."
"HW needed us not to know this, because our association with him bought him credibility, an ability to lure young, aspiring women into circumstances where they would be hurt," she stated. "He needed me much more than I needed him and he made sure I didn’t know. Apparently he hired ex-Mossad operators to protect this information from becoming public. Rose and the scores of other victims of these powerful, moneyed, ruthless men face an adversary for whom Winning, at any and all costs, is the only acceptable outcome. That’s why a legal defense fund for victims is currently being assembled to which hundreds of good hearted people in our business will contribute, to bring down the bastards, and help victims fight this scourge within."