McGowan takes on We­in­stein

Ac­tress ac­cuses movie pro­ducer in stream of tweets as Lon­don po­lice take a fresh look at cases, writes Colleen Long

Weekend Herald - - WORLD -

ose McGowan has stepped up the pres­sure on Har­vey We­in­stein as po­lice de­tec­tives in New York and Lon­don take a fresh look into sex­ual as­sault al­le­ga­tions against the dis­graced movie mogul.

Some 30 women have now ac­cused the Hol­ly­wood film pro­ducer of in­ap­pro­pri­ate con­duct.

New York Po­lice Depart­ment spokesman Peter Don­ald said yes­ter­day that in­ves­ti­ga­tors were re­view­ing po­lice files to see if any­one else re­ported be­ing as­saulted or ha­rassed by him.

So far, no filed com­plaints had been found, he said, other than one well- known case that prompted an in­ves­ti­ga­tion in 2015, but au­thor­i­ties are en­cour­ag­ing any­one with in­for­ma­tion on We­in­stein to con­tact the depart­ment.

Lon­don po­lice were also look­ing into a claim it had re­ceived from the Mersey­side force in north­west Eng­land, Bri­tish me­dia re­ported yes­ter­day. Mersey­side po­lice said the al­le­ga­tion was made a day ear­lier and con­cerned “an al­leged sex­ual as­sault in the Lon­don area in the 1980s”.

Some 30 women — in­clud­ing ac­tresses An­gelina Jolie, Ash­ley Judd and Gwyneth Pal­trow — have spo­ken out re­cently to say We­in­stein had sex­u­ally ha­rassed or sex­u­ally as­saulted them. McGowan, who has long sug­gested that We­in­stein sex­u­ally as­saulted her, tweeted yes­ter­day that “HW raped me”. The ini­tials were an ap­par­ent ref­er­ence to We­in­stein, and the Hol­ly­wood Re­porter said the ac­tress con­firmed to them that she was re­fer­ring to the dis­graced film mogul.

The New York Times ear­lier re­ported that We­in­stein paid a fi­nan­cial set­tle­ment of US$ 100,000 ($ 140,142) to McGowan in 1997 over an in­ci­dent in a ho­tel room at the Sun­dance Film Fes­ti­val in Utah.

McGowan ap­peared em­bold­ened yes­ter­day to de­scribe more out­right her past ex­pe­ri­ence with We­in­stein. Shortly be­fore a se­ries a t weets ad­dressed to Ama­zon chief Jeff Be­zos, McGowan tweeted a woman war­rior pic­ture with a “Rosearmy” hash­tag and stated “It’s on.”

“I told the head of your stu­dio that HW raped me,” McGowan said in tweets di­rected to Be­zos. “Over and Over I said it. He said it hadn’t been proven. I said I was the proof.”

In sub­se­quent tweets, McGowan ap­peared to sug­gest that Ama­zon Stu­dios, which i s over­seen by Roy Price, pre­vi­ously dropped a project penned by McGowan af­ter she in­sisted We­in­stein not be in­volved.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives for Ama­zon did not im­me­di­ately com­ment yes­ter­day.

Price has been put on an im­me­di­ate leave of ab­sence fol­low­ing al­le­ga­tions that he ha­rassed a pro­ducer and ig­nored an ac­tress’ claim of a sex­ual as­sault by We­in­stein.

We­in­stein was fired on Mon­day by The We­in­stein Co, a stu­dio he co­founded with his brother.

McGowan has since pushed for the re­main­ing board mem­bers of The We­in­stein Co to re­sign. She also this week called Ben Affleck “a liar” on Twit­ter, sug­gest­ing the ac­tor knew about We­in­stein’s con­duct. She and Affleck co- starred in 1997’ s Go­ing All the Way and 1998’ s Phan­toms. Rep­re­sen­ta­tives for Affleck did not re­spond to mes­sages re­gard­ing that al­le­ga­tion.

We­in­stein’s rep­re­sen­ta­tive Sal­lie Hofmeis­ter has said that We­in­stein “un­equiv­o­cally” de­nies “any al­le­ga­tions of non- con­sen­sual sex”.

Some of the al­le­ga­tions in­volved con­duct at ho­tels in Bev­erly Hills, but po­lice there didn’t re­turn calls on whether they were in­ves­ti­gat­ing any pos­si­ble crimes.

The Los An­ge­les Po­lice Depart­ment has no open in­ves­ti­ga­tions.

The Sum­mit County Sher­iff ’ s Of­fice, which shares a records sys­tem with Park City Po­lice, had no re­ports or calls in­volv­ing We­in­stein or McGowan in the past 30 years, sher­iff ’ s spokesman Lieu­tenant An­drew Wright said.

De­tec­tives in the NYPD’s spe­cial vic­tims unit were in­structed to iden­tify and speak with any po­ten­tial vic­tims, in­clud­ing the women who spoke about their en­coun­ters with We­in­stein in a re­cent Yorker ar­ti­cle, ac­cord­ing to a law en­force­ment of­fi­cial briefed on the mat­ter who spoke to the As­so­ci­ated Press on con­di­tion of anonymity.

In the New Yorker ex­pose, a for­mer ac­tress, Lu­cia Evans, said We­in­stein forced her to per­form oral sex in 2004 when she was a col­lege stu­dent.

At least one other un­named woman said she was raped by We­in­stein, but the ar­ti­cle did not dis­close when or where it hap­pened.

A third woman, ac­tress Asia Ar­gento, told the mag­a­zine that We­in­stein forcibly per­formed oral sex on her in 1997 at a ho­tel in France.

Un­der New York law, mak­ing some­one en­gage in oral sex by phys­i­cal force or the threat of it is a first- de­gree crim­i­nal sex­ual act. There’s no le­gal time limit for bring­ing charges. New

We­in­stein ap­peared in pub­lic briefly on Thurs­day out­side a Los An­ge­les home, telling the pa­parazzi he’s “not do­ing OK”, but he’s hop­ing for a “sec­ond chance”, ac­cord­ing to video posted by web­site TMZ.

McGowan re­acted to net­work NBC run­ning the story by tweet­ing: “This is a prime ex­am­ple of how you are be­ing com­plicit in RAPE CUL­TURE. DO NOT GIVE RAPISTS A PLAT­FORM. Damn you.”

New York de­tec­tives have al­ready in­ves­ti­gated We­in­stein once, in 2015 when an Ital­ian model said the stu­dio ex­ec­u­tive grabbed her breasts and groped her. De­tec­tives set up a st­ing where they recorded a con­ver­sa­tion be­tween the woman and We­in­stein while he tried to per­suade her to come into his ho­tel room.

“Why yes­ter­day you touch my breast?” the 22- year- old asked on the record­ing, pub­lished by the New Yorker.

“Oh, please, I’m sorry, just come on in. I’m used to that. Come on. Please,” We­in­stein re­sponded.

Man­hat­tan Dis­trict At­tor­ney Cyrus R. Vance jnr said pros­e­cu­tors de­cided there wasn’t enough ev­i­dence to pros­e­cute the case.

“I, like they, were very dis­turbed by the con­tents of the tape,” Vance said. “But at the end of the day we op­er­ate in a court­room of law, not the court of pub­lic opin­ion. And our sex crime pros­e­cu­tors made a de­ter­mi­na­tion that this was not go­ing to be a prov­able case.” Po­lice in­ves­ti­gated that al­le­ga­tion as a case of forcible touch­ing, a mis­de­meanour with a t wo- year time limit for bring­ing charges. The statute of lim­i­ta­tions has since ex­pired.

Yes­ter­day, ac­tress Kate Beck­in­sale claimed that We­in­stein greeted her in his bathrobe when she was 17. She said that years later she met We­in­stein again and he asked if he had tried any­thing at their first meet­ing. She said she re­alised “he couldn’t re­mem­ber if he had as­saulted me or not”.

The ac­tress said she re­jected sev­eral of­fers over the years to work with We­in­stein, and he would of­ten re­spond with anger, pro­fan­ity and threats. She called for in­dus­try changes to be made to “stop al­low­ing our young women to be sex­ual can­non fod­der”. Ama­zon Stu­dios chief on im­me­di­ate leave of ab­sence

Pic­tures / AP

Rose McGowan took to Twit­ter yes­ter­day as the al­le­ga­tions against Har­vey We­in­stein grew. An­gelina Jolie Ash­ley Judd Gwyneth Pal­trow Rose McGowan

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