Weinstein accuser speaks out
In her first public comments since accusing film producer Harvey Weinstein of rape, actress Rose McGowan says she was ‘‘silenced for 20 years’’ but won’t remain quiet about sexual assault and harassment.
McGowan, delivering opening remarks at The Women’s Convention in Detroit yesterday, thanked the audience ‘‘for giving me wings during this very difficult time’’.
‘‘The triggering has been insane – the monster’s face everywhere, my nightmare,’’ she said.
‘‘I have been silenced for 20 years. I have been slut-shamed, I have been harassed, I have been maligned, and you know what? I am just like you. What happened to me behind the scenes happens to all of us in this society. It cannot stand and will not stand.’’
McGowan has been one of the leading voices against sexual harassment in Hollywood, and tweeted earlier this month that she was raped by a man with the initials ‘‘HW’’. The Hollywood Reporter said McGowan had confirmed that she was referring to Weinstein.
On Twitter, McGowan has amassed supporters and urged them to call out harassment using the #RoseArmy hashtag.
McGowan has starred in several films, including Scream, as well as the early 2000s television series Charmed.
Weinstein was fired from The Weinstein Company on October 8 after The New York Times published an expose that detailed decades of sexual harassment allegations against him. The Oscarwinning producer apologised without addressing any specific conduct, but has denied later allegations by several women that he raped them.
The newspaper also reported that Weinstein paid a financial settlement of US$100,000 to McGowan in 1997 over an incident in a hotel room during the Sundance Film Festival in Utah.
Weinstein representative Sallie Hofmeister has denied all allegations of non-consensual sex.
Police in London, Los Angeles and New York are investigating Weinstein.
In yesterday’s speech, McGowan said that because Hollywood was male-dominated, ‘‘we are given one view’’. She said the entertainment industry was not isolated in this respect; instead, ‘‘it is the mirror you are given to look into’’.
‘‘I know the men behind that view. They shouldn’t be in your mind, and they shouldn’t be in mine. It’s time to clean house,’’ she said.
McGowan participated in a panel later in the day, and elaborated on changes that could be made in the entertainment industry to prevent harassment and sexual abuse.
‘‘In regards to Hollywood, we have no rights,’’ she said. ‘‘There is no such thing as sexual harassment laws.’’
She said biases against women made their way into scripts as well, with the large numbers of men in writers’ rooms. ‘‘Writers in Hollywood use rape as a plot device. They can’t imagine a woman getting strong otherwise.’’
McGowan was joined on the panel by fellow actress Amber Tamblyn, who said there had ‘‘always been sort of a quiet conversation happening in our business’’ about sexual violence.
Going public historically meant risking ‘‘a complete destruction of your character’’, Tamblyn said, but the allegations against Weinstein and others had started to change the game.
‘‘The linchpin has been pulled out of the grenade,’’ she said. ‘‘I’m proud to be a part of that.’’
Weinstein has sued the film company he co-founded, demanding access to his old email account and personnel file and claiming that they contain evidence that will exonerate him from the allegations of sexual harassment and assault.
In a lawsuit filed in Delaware, Weinstein claims that his email account would clear him and therefore the company as well.
The Weinstein Company executives have been accused of complicity in Weinstein’s conduct towards women, and there have been allegations that staff were well aware of his behaviour and continued to enable him to sexually harass women. The company has denied the allegations.
Weinstein’s brother, Bob, 63, cofounder of The Weinstein Company, has also been accused of sexually harassing a TV producer with whom he worked. He has denied behaving inappropriately, and his lawyer has claimed that ‘‘we have the emails to prove it’’.
Actress Rose McGowan raises her fist after addressing the audience during the opening session of the Women’s Convention in Detroit. She used her speech to say that sexual assault and harassment ‘‘cannot stand and will not stand’’.