We­in­stein ac­cuser speaks out

Sunday Star-Times - - World -

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’’.

REUTERS

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’’.

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