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Rose McGowan on Harvey Weinstein, Ben Affleck, and Hollywood’s ‘Rape Factory’

In the IndieWire interview, McGowan talks about the new chapter of her career, and why she's so disgusted with movies she can barely watch them.

Rose McGowan

Rose McGowan


McGowan has no patience for Oscar season, nor the Academy’s multi-year attempts to diversify. “They got Chris Rock to host after #OscarsSoWhite and he made jokes about women the whole way through,” she said. “That was after that fucker Seth McFarlane sang, ‘We saw your boobs.’ None of you assholes in the audience flinched. When he said, ‘Jodie Foster, we saw your boobs’ — you know when we saw Jodie Foster’s boobs? It was when she was being gang-raped on a motherfucking pinball table in ‘The Accused.’ So fuck you, Seth McFarlane. That was degrading as fuck.”

Last fall, she took James Corden to task for cracking jokes about Weinstein during a Hollywood AmfAR event. (He later issued an apology.) “If you replace what Corden said at the Emmys with the n-word, is that what it would take for him to understand?” she said. “I know they understand that racism is bad.”

Unsurprisingly, she’s unequivocal about the Woody Allen question. “Fifteen years ago, I was asked if I’d do a Woody Allen movie… I said, ‘Fuck no.’ But apparently I was the only one with integrity.” As for Allen’s decade-spanning oeuvre, McGowan shrugged. “We didn’t all like ‘Annie Hall,’” she said. “That is not a collective experience. You guys adulate and mythologize that guy. I’m not sure why.”

McGowan’s anger seems inexhaustible, if not exhausting. However, the system she rails against has a way of proving her points, over and over again. Within a day of her book’s release, IndieWire received a revolting message from Sitrick and Company, the crisis management firm handling Weinstein’s responses to the stream of allegations:

I saw your piece omitted that Rose says she faked an orgasm while Mr. Weinstein was performing oral sex on her. Why? It’s misleading to leave out that part that she describes in detail in her book. Can you please update your story to include her full description of the encounter.

Through a lawyer, Weinstein rebutted the charges of non-consensual sexual contact. Within a matter of hours, McGowan shot back with a statement lashing out against “a sad, pathetic old-fashioned sexist attempt to undermine obvious truth.”

Many of the stories surrounding McGowan’s account of the incident report that she told Affleck about it shortly afterward. McGowan said they have it wrong. “I never told Ben what happened in that hotel room,” she said. “I looked at him, shaking and tearing up, and I said, ‘I just came from a meeting with Harvey.’ And that’s all I said. Then he said, ‘Goddammit, I told him to stop doing that.’ I didn’t have to say what happened.” She noticed a pattern. “It was markedly similar to other language I heard later,” she said. “My manager said, ‘I had an expose killed about him. He owes it to me not to do this!’ Owes it to you? So you curried favor with other clients to get more work, just like human traffickers.”

Rose McGowan in “Phantoms”

Affleck was her co-star in “Phantoms.” “The only thing he ever said to me on ‘Phantoms’ was, ‘You just think every man wants to fuck you, don’t you?’ I was like, what? It felt like someone threw hot water on my face.” She positioned him as a brand. “He’s a corporation,” she said. “When I talk about Ben Affleck, I’m talking about a bank selling its advertisements to you on a street corner. Then other people owning that bank are trying to sell its premiums to you.”

McGowan has made her peace with a former colleague in at least one notable instance, which she briefly acknowledges in “Brave.” While shooting her breakout performance in Gregg Araki’s queer punk road movie “The Doom Generation” with co-star Johnathon Schaech, she said, he pushed a water bottle up against her vagina during a car scene. In early January, Schaech alleged in People magazine that he was raped by director Franco Zeffirelli a few years before the Araki film. “He apologized to me a long time ago,” McGowan said. “He was going through a lot. This is how quickly this cycle continues.”

McGowan finally has the attention of the industry, though it peers at her with one queasy eye open, and her stance has left the more vapid extremes of the media world grappling to reconcile her celebrity with a stage that exists beyond its confines. Paparazzi chased her around Manhattan between press appointments, misidentifying one of her industry colleagues — agent Brandon Frankel — as an old boyfriend. (By the end of the interview, tabloids had updated him to “anonymous companion.”)

It’s no wonder McGowan harbors disdain for any camera she can’t control. “I don’t like Hollywood. It’s a myth,” she said. “It’s a real estate company, a shill, a front. We have to create a new Hollywood. Find a new name.” She cycled back to the awards race. “Golden Globes? Fuck off! Oscars? Fuck you, too. Grammys? Suck it. Why do we need these constructs?” she asked. “We have the ability to do tremendous things. We say we have to stick with this tradition when it’s not benefiting us. You know what that is? It’s a cult. We do it blindly… I wish Hollywood wasn’t gross. I wish it wasn’t a rape factory.”

Her producer hovered nearby as she made her way to the elevator, but the tirade continued. “If Hollywood sticks to these outdated roles, we’re fucked,” McGowan said. “I love cinema, but I hate what it’s done to people.”

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