The former actor was one of the first to indict producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault. Now she wants to change the entire industry’s attitude towards women. ‘I know I’m on the right course,’ she says
The day we meet, the sky is black and the rain comes fast and heavy. Rose McGowan had walked into the hotel bar looking slight, but as she sits in an armchair, her back to the window, streaks of lightning flash outside behind her head and she looks, instead, like some sort of avenging angel. “I wanted to show people around the world that you can strike at the head of power and not just bite at the ankles,” she says. “Because they can shake you off when you bite at the ankles.”
When allegations of sexual assault started to surface about the film producer Harvey Weinstein late last year – he has denied all allegations of nonconsensual sex – McGowan added her voice, early and loudly. The former actor had collaborated with Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, the New York Times journalists who broke the story in October, passing on information about the $100,000 settlement he paid her in 1997 after an alleged assault. When Weinstein turned himself in last week, McGowan tweeted: “We got you, Harvey Weinstein, we got you.” This week, a grand jury indicted Weinstein on rape and criminal sex act charges, which he denies.
“I cried the other night, finally,” she says. “I was asked a lot when he was arrested: ‘How does it feel?’ And I hadn’t really had time to process how it felt. I went to Central Park – it was around midnight – and I just cried. I cried for the girl I was, I cried for her. But today I smile for me.”
The aftermath of the story breaking has been “extreme” says McGowan, although she says she had been living through a strange and nightmarish time long before the articles came out. She alleges that, when he heard about her tell-all memoir, Brave, Weinstein hired investigators, including former agents from the Mossad, to follow her and infiltrate her circle. It sounds like an outlandish claim, but a New Yorker story corroborates it. (A Weinstein spokesman told the magazine: “It is a fiction to suggest that any individuals were targeted or suppressed at any time.”)