Rose McGowan recalls harrowing details of Harvey Weinstein ‘sex attack’

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Kayleigh Dray
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Rose McGowan was one of the first women to speak out against Harvey Weinstein.

Rose McGowan has revealed new details about her alleged rape by Harvey Weinstein in her new memoir, Brave.

Rose McGowan has emerged as one of Harvey Weinstein’s most vocal critics after investigations into the Hollywood producer’s sexual misconduct were published last year. 

She was named in the original New York Times article as one of the many women had settled with Weinstein out of court, having reached an agreement over an incident in 1997. However, most of these women were required to sign confidentiality clauses, barring them from talking about the deals or about the events that led to them.

At the time, the report stated that Weinstein’s team made it clear in legal documents that the $100,000 (approximately £76,000) payment was not an admission of guilt, but to “buy peace” and avoid a legal battle.

However, McGowan later broke with her NDA agreement to publicly accuse Weinstein of rape (via a tweet published on the 12 October) in a hotel room at the 1997 Sundance Film Festival.

Now, in her new memoir, Brave, the actress has written in detail about the alleged sexual assault.

According to the New York Times review of Brave, McGowan (who only refers to Weinstein as “the Monster” throughout the book) remembers being invited to Weinstein’s suite at a hotel in Park City, Utah where she was told the two would be meeting to talk about her up-and-coming career.

“I was certain we would be working together for many years to come, and we were here to plot out the grand arc of my career,” McGowan writes about her feelings prior to the encounter.

When McGowan arrived at Weinstein’s suite, however, the studio executive pulled her into a room with a jacuzzi and took off her clothes. McGowan says she froze “like a statue” as Weinstein allegedly proceeded to sit her on the side of the jacuzzi.

It was at this point, she says, that he forcibly performed oral sex on her while masturbating.

“He moans loudly; through my tears I see his semen floating on top of the bubbles,” she writes.

Later Weinstein allegedly called McGowan and described her as “a special friend”.

“I felt so dirty,” she writes. “I had been so violated and I was sad to the core of my being.

“I kept thinking about how he’d been sitting behind me in the theatre the night before it happened. Which made it – not my responsibility, exactly, but – like I had had a hand in tempting him. Which made it even sicker and made me feel dirtier.”

Immediately after the rape, McGowan says she attended a photo opportunity for Phantom, another Miramax film she was in. Here, she allegedly told a co-star (previously identified as Ben Affleck) about what had happened.

Affleck, reportedly said: “Goddamnit. I told him to stop doing that.” 

McGowan goes on to say that Affleck (who has never responded to this allegation) was not the only person she spoke to about the incident. However, everyone who she sought help from told her “to see it as something that would help [her career] in the long run”.

She alleges that a criminal attorney eventually informed her that no one would believe her if she pressed charges – and that she received word that Weinstein had begun calling industry friends and telling them not to hire her for roles.

“It seemed like every creep in Hollywood knew about my most vulnerable and violated moment,” McGowan writes. “And I was the one who was punished for it.”

McGowan started writing Brave three years ago as “social re-engineering project” which she hopes will reform people’s ways of thinking. 

“I knew from a very early age that this messaging system was very, very wrong and needed to be brought down,” she explained to Vanity Fair.

“They built a mother**king beast, and they built a mother**king problem. I am that problem to all of them. He represents all of them to me. And that’s why he must be slayed.”

And she’s not done fighting yet: lawyers for Weinstein have repeatedly denied all the claims brought against him.

“Mr Weinstein denies Ms McGowan’s allegations of non-consensual sexual contact,” said a spokesperson. “Mr Weinstein has further confirmed that there were never any acts of retaliation against any women for refusing his advances.”

Images: Rex Features


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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.