Years before her alleged rape at the hands of disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, Rose McGowan claims she was sexually assaulted by a “very famous” man when she was just 15.
The 44-year-old actress sat down with journalist Rowan Farrow at New York City’s 92Y on Thursday night, where the new claim was brought up, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Though McGowan said she was not yet ready to disclose his identity, Farrow—who was already aware of the claim—said that he was a “prominent” man in Hollywood.
“This man picked me up when I was 15 years old,” McGowan said. “He took me home after he met me and he showed me a soft porn movie he had made for Showtime, under a different name. And then he had sex with me.”
For years, McGowan filed the encounter away as “a sexual experience,” telling Farrow that when she played it back, she “had been attracted to him” and that she “doesn’t have a normal trajectory.”
It was only until after Farrow’s story in The New Yorker first broke about Weinstein that the actress says she realized something was wrong. “That creep did this to a 15-year-old,” she said. “It was not until two weeks after your story broke—our story, our world’s story—that I was in bed and I started saying, ‘Oh my God. I think that’s molestation.’ ”
Farrow pointed out that McGowan was underage at the time, but pointed out the alleged incident came with some grayer areas around consent.
McGowan’s response? “I’ve been pulled over for speeding a couple times but I’ll tell you what, I’ve sped a lot more that I’ve been pulled over. Two percent of all reported rape cases are false—and that’s of the very few rape cases that actually get brought,” she said.
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Elsewhere in the 90-minute sit-down, McGowan—who was promoting her new memoir, Brave, and E! docuseries Citizen Rose—broke down in tears while discussing her alleged experience with Weinstein, whom she referred to simply as “the monster.”
On Tuesday, Weinstein’s attorney Ben Brafman slammed what he called McGowan’s attempt to “smear Mr. Weinstein with a bold lie that is denied not only by Mr. Weinstein himself, but by at least two witnesses.”
The statement included emails allegedly written by Ben Affleck and McGowan’s former manager, which purported to disprove the actress’s previous claim that she had told both Affleck and the manager about the alleged assault.
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McGowan’s publicist called Brafman’s statement “an affront not only to Rose but to the hundreds of women who have come forward with their stories of harassment, sexual abuse and rape perpetrated by Mr. Weinstein and those like him.”
According to McGowan, the former mogul’s denial “unequivocally proves a continued attempt to malign, smear and ‘slut shame” McGowan and “is a sad, pathetic old-fashioned sexist attempt to undermine obvious truth and the gaslighting will no longer be tolerated.”
The inclusion of the emails allegedly written by Affleck and her former manager “clearly proves Mr. Weinstein was on a fishing expedition to target and coerce potential witnesses three months prior to when the first allegations of rape surfaced in the media,” according to the actress.
McGowan was one of the first women to speak out in October when news broke about Weinstein’s alleged decades of alleged sexual misconduct and assault in The New York Times and The New Yorker. The former producer has since been accused by over 60 women of various forms of sexual assault and misconduct.
In October, the NYT reported that McGowan was part of a settlement with Weinstein in 1997 following the alleged encounter. The $100,000 payout was “not to be construed as an admission” by Weinstein, but intended to “avoid litigation and buy peace,” according to a legal document reportedly reviewed by the NYT.
Weinstein’s lawyer Ben Brafman responded to McGowan’s allegations in a statement to People.
“Mr. Weinstein denies Rose McGowan’s allegations of non-consensual sexual contact and it is erroneous and irresponsible to conflate claims of inappropriate behavior and consensual sexual contact later regretted, with an untrue claim of rape.” His spokesperson also said that McGowan “chose to demand money” from Weinstein and worked and appeared with him later in her career.“
A spokesperson for Weinstein also previously told People in a statement that “any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein. Mr. Weinstein has further confirmed that there were never any acts of retaliation against any women for refusing his advances.”