Harvey Weinstein has an issued an official statement through his lawyer, Ben Brafman, in which he denies Rose McGowan’s allegation that he raped her at the 1997 Sundance Film Festival. In order to try and prove that McGowan is lying about the incident, Weinstein and Brafman released emails from Ben Affleck and McGowan’s former manager Jill Messick that don’t corroborate with McGowan’s story.
McGowan writes about the alleged rape for the first time in detail in her just-released book “BRAVE.” The activist says that she was 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 career. When she arrived at Weinstein’s suite, however, the studio executive pulled her into a room with a jacuzzi and took off her clothes. Weinstein allegedly sat on the side of the jacuzzi, where he forcibly performed oral sex on her while masturbating.
After the alleged abuse occurred, McGowan says she was taken to do a photo-op at Sundance with Ben Affleck. The two were at the festival promoting their Weinstein-backed film “Phantoms.” According to McGowan, Affleck saw her shaking and after hearing where she had come from he told her, “Goddamn it. I told him to stop doing that,” implying that he knew about Weinstein’s history of abuse.
To deny McGowan’s claim, Brafman released an email Affleck reportedly sent Weinstein on July 26, long before the wave of allegations against Weinstein started in October. The email finds Affleck denying that McGowan ever told her about the alleged rape.
“Ben Affleck expressed the following in an email to Mr. Weinstein: ‘She never told me nor did I ever infer that she was attacked by anyone. Any accounts to the contrary are false. I have no knowledge about anything Rose did or claimed to have done.'”
The email released from McGowan’s former manager Jill Messick says that McGowan told her she consensually got into the hot tub the night she met Weinstein at the 1997 Sundance Film Festival, only to later regret the decision.
“In an email to Mr. Weinstein regarding the encounter, Jill Messick says the following: ‘When we met up the following day, she hesitantly told me of her own accord that during the meeting that night before she had gotten into a hot tub with Mr. Weinstein. She was very clear about the fact that getting into that hot tub was something that she did consensually and that in hindsight it was also something that she regretted having done.'”
McGowan responded to Weinstein’s denial on Twitter, writing: “Fuck you you fucking douche bag loser from hell. You will burn. You will be an empty suit coffin. You go fall off the planet you fuck.”
Fuck you you fucking douche bag loser from hell. You will burn. You will be an empty suit coffin. You go fall off the planet you fuck. #RoseArmy BREATHE FIRE let motherfucker but https://t.co/tJq4M5lwiH
— rose mcgowan (@rosemcgowan) January 31, 2018
UPDATE (3:00pm ET on January 31): McGowan has responded to Weinstein in the following statement:
Yesterday’s statement from Mr. Weinstein and his attorney Ben Brafman unequivocally proves a continued attempt to malign, smear and “slut shame” Rose McGowan. It is 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. This is a sad, pathetic old-fashioned sexist attempt to undermine obvious truth and the gaslighting will no longer be tolerated. The “performance” is him and his complicity machine, and they are bad actors.
Mr. Weinstein has used his power to violate Rose in all too many ways, even resorting to proven espionage tactics in attempt to cover up his crimes. The statement released yesterday by the retrograde lawyer also 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. Furthermore, the email “evidence” presented from Ben Affleck and Rose’s former manager, Jill Messick, dated from July of last year has already been disproven — by Affleck himself on the Today Show in a statement of support for Rose (“I believe Rose, I support her”) in November of 2017 and by Ms. Messicks’ then-assistant Anne Woodward as reported in the New York Times last October. These crimes have also been investigated thoroughly by the paper of record, the New York Times, as well as the New Yorker’s incredibly detailed coverage by Ronan Farrow.
Mr. Weinstein’s attempts to discredit Rose is part of his 20 year long campaign to silence her, clearly proving he IS the monster so many women have described him to be.
Like so many other #MeToo’s, Rose will continue to push back at ingrained thought and a corrupt power structure. She will not be commenting further. The truth can be found in her work: BRAVE the book, it can be found in the rawness of Citizen Rose and in the music, lyrics and emotion of Planet 9. It is time true voices were heard and it is time for the lies to stop.