Since Wednesday, posters have gone up guerrilla style in Los Angeles, showing a black and white image of Meryl Streep with the phrase “she knew” covering her eyes. The poster is a comment on disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein and is meant to imply Streep knew about his criminal behavior and chose to keep silent.
The phrase is written in white print on a red block, mimicking the work of artist Barbara Kruger, who is known for her support of women’s issues. Kruger is perhaps best known for a piece titled “(Untitled) Your body is a battleground,” which she designed for a flier for a pro-choice rally held in Washington D.C. in 1989.
It turns out the posters are the work of Sabo (taken from sabot, a type of ammunition), a 49-year-old right wing artist and former marine, who put up the posters in retaliation for Streep speaking out against Donald Trump during her Golden Globes award speech in 2016 and also for her role in The Post, a film which is said to push back on Trump’s efforts to paint the press as fake.
“She’s swiping at us so we’re swiping back,” Sabo told The Guardian. When asked about Trump’s Access Hollywood comments celebrating assaulting women that were caught on tape, he said, “I don’t know a man who I’ve had a beer who doesn’t talk shit like that. We don’t have proof of Trump doing it. Who am I to judge him on that?”
The artist previously has targeted Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and recently Al Franken, and has said he views a liberal mindset as a mental disorder.
Sabo’s work is supported by Milo Yiannopoulos, who was dropped from a Simon & Shuster book contract when a tape surfaced on which he argued sex between a 13-year-old and an adult could be consensual. His efforts have also received a social media push from Mike Cernovich, a far-right wing activist who is known for pushing the debunked Pizzagate conspiracy purporting high-ranking Democrats were involved in a child sex ring.
Streep who had worked on several occasions with Weinstein specifically wrote in an October statement she wasn’t aware of his criminal behavior. “Not everybody knew. Harvey supported the work fiercely, was exasperating but respectful with me in our working relationship, and with many others with whom he worked professionally.”
She added, “I didn’t know about these other offences: I did not know about his financial settlements with actresses and colleagues; I did not know about his having meetings in his hotel room, his bathroom, or other inappropriate, coercive acts. And If everybody knew, I don’t believe that all the investigative reporters in the entertainment and the hard news media would have neglected for decades to write about it.”