Rose McGowan Says She 'Tried to Buy a Billboard' to Have a Voice After Harvey Weinstein Settlement
By Jackie Willis
Rose McGowan says she tried to speak out for years, but never felt like she had a voice.
The 44-year-old actress appeared on Tuesday's Good Morning America, and spoke to Robin Roberts about allegedly being sexual assaulted by Harvey Weinstein in 1997 at a hotel in Park City, Utah, where the Sundance Film Festival was taking place. She also talks about this alleged incident in her new biography, Brave.
Weinstein's attorney released a statement to the morning show and to ET refuting these claims. "Mr. Weinstein denies Rose McGowan’s allegations of non-consensual sexual contact. It is erroneous and irresponsible to conflate claims of inappropriate behavior and consensual sexual contact later regretted, with an untrue claim of rape."
During her interview with Roberts, McGowan said that she had MTV cameras following her for a "day in the life of Rose McGowan" segment prior to her meeting with Weinstein, and noted that it was not unusual to audition in a hotel room.
.@rosemcgowan on Harvey Weinstein, who she calls "The Monster": "For me he's a sick person, he's a sick mind, but what about all the others? And there were so many. The machinery set up in every country he would go to for the handlers to hand him the victims." pic.twitter.com/QTMHkInKvP
"One of the things people don't understand about the hotel room specifically is people think you open the door and there is a bed. These are people with an entire presidential suite," she explained. "That means it's the entire top floor of a hotel -- usually it's three offices. It was not unusual. I had auditioned in many hotel rooms, the director comes and sits -- that's how it goes."
She recounted that she felt detached from her body during the alleged assault, in which she claims that Weinstein gave her oral sex without consent while masturbating himself.
"A lot of victims and survivors will say they detach and you really do," said McGowan, who was 23 at the time. "You float up above your body because you’re trying to figure out ...Literally when he grabbed me I was thinking, ‘Oh I hope I still have lipstick on for the camera.’"
She continued, "Your brain is in another place and all of a sudden your body is like, ‘What, what, what?' This is not what I expected at 10 in the morning."
McGowan says both in her book and to GMA that she met up with Ben Affleck immediately after the alleged incident for a photo op for their movie, Phantoms, and claims that when she told the actor her story, he replied, "Goddamn it. I told him to stop doing that."
"Everybody knew," she insisted.
"You really believe that?" Roberts asked.
"I know that. I was there. People try to think I don’t know these people. I am on the outside, like they are, looking in," she responded. "Someone asked me, 'Who I would be if I was a character in the Wizard of Oz?' I would be the curtain, someone who saw both sides that nobody noticed that was pretty and just being used and discarded when done."
The Charmed star credits Twitter for allowing her to speak out and tell her story. "It’s nice being able to speak for myself," she said. "Every interview I did for so many years started with, ‘What was it like to work with this man?’ Well, it’s exactly like what you’d think."
McGowan reached a settlement with Weinstein for $100,000, and The New Yorkerrecently posteda copy of the settlement. In exchange, she agreed not to pursue legal action against him.
"I tried to buy a billboard," she said when asked about the settlement. "It was my only way of saying, 'I didn't like this, I didn't want this.' It was my only form of voice."
McGowan added, "I have a lot of people who say, 'You took the money.' Let me tell you, the only perfect rape victim is a dead victim. And that is a fact and it is sad. It is not on us. We were just walking on the street."
In a statement to ET regarding the settlement, Weinstein's attorney said, "It was Ms. McGowan, and only Ms. McGowan, who chose to demand money from Mr. Weinstein; it was Ms. McGowan who later chose to work with Mr. Weinstein professionally, and it was Ms. McGowan who later elected to personally appear with Mr. Weinstein at his charity event in Cannes. Ms. McGowan also approached Mr. Weinstein to finance a $30 million film she was starring in, a remake of Barbarella."
Weinstein is currently under investigation in Los Angeles, New York and the United Kingdom for allegations of sexual assault made by other women, though he has not been charged. His lawyer has said that "any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein."
"I wish there were charges," McGowan said. "I find it very strange. How many women does it take?"
In addition to her book, McGowan is also speaking out against sexual misconduct in Hollywood in her new E! docuseries, Citizen Rose, which also premieres on Tuesday.