Update: Alexander Payne has denied allegations from Rose McGowan that he sexually assaulted her when she was 15 years, which the activist revealed on social media back in August. In a guest column for Deadline, Payne said that a professional relationship led to going out on “a couple of dates,” after which he said they “remained on friendly terms for years.”
Update: Later on Monday, Rose McGowan spoke to Variety about why she decided to come forward with her allegations against Alexander Payne at this time. “It just came over me. It was time.” She also described the alleged encounter as a grooming situation.”
McGowan also opened about the allegations on her Instagram page, stating that the experience compelled her to quit acting until she was “discovered” again at age 21.
“I feel badly about throwing a bomb into someone’s life and career, but I guess that’s social conditioning. I’m more sad than angry. Sad for 15 year-old me. Sad for the adult me that still thought it was a choice I made. Grooming is real. I want you all to know that it’s not your fault if you were mentally massaged into thinking it’s okay. It is not,” she wrote. See the post below.
Earlier: Activist and artist Rose McGowan has accused filmmaker Alexander Payne of sexual misconduct that occurred when she was 15 years old and he was in his 20s. McGowan, now 46, tweeted the allegations against Payne, 59, on Monday morning before demanding an apology from the Academy Award-winning writer and director.
“You sat me down & played a soft-core porn movie you directed for Showtime under a different name,” McGowan tweeted. “I still remember your apartment in Silverlake. You are very well-endowed. You left me on a street corner afterwards. I was 15.” See the tweet below.
Representatives for Payne and McGowan did not immediately respond to IndieWire’s request for comment.
In a followup tweet, McGowan wrote, “I just want an acknowledgement and an apology. I do not want to destroy.”
McGowan’s claims line up with allegations hinted at during a 2018 conversation with another #MeToo whistleblower, journalist Ronan Farrow, as reported by The Cut while McGowan promoted her autobiographical book “Brave.”
“You told me that, even long before the Harvey Weinstein incident, you recounted to me that there was a statutory rape by a prominent man in Hollywood,” Farrow said.
“Yes, and I didn’t process that until — well, I’ll get to him,” McGowan said.
Farrow asked McGowan if she was willing to tell that story during their conversation, to which she replied, “Right now? In general, sure. Right now at this moment? I’ve had a big day. It would make this night very spectacular, I assure you. But let me tell you: He worked for my rapist and won Oscars.” She did say, however, that “He took me home, after he met me, and showed me a soft-porn movie he’d made for Showtime, under a different name, of course … And then he had sex with me. And then he left me next to Tropical in Silver Lake, standing on a street corner.”
McGowan also said during the interview with Farrow that she hadn’t fully processed that what had happened could’ve been perceived as statutory rape until much later. “I’d been attracted to him, so I always filed it away as a sexual experience … Two weeks after your [New Yorker] story came out, I’d processed it, but I removed myself from it,” she said.
McGowan was one of the first women to publicly accuse Harvey Weinstein of sexual abuse, and instrumental in taking down the movie mogul’s empire and igniting a wave of similar allegations that have rocked Hollywood since the fall of 2017.
Payne’s next project, still in pre-production, is the four-part HBO miniseries “The Landscapers” starring Olivia Colman. HBO representatives declined to comment.
Alexander Payne. You sat me down & played a soft-core porn movie you directed for Showtime under a different name. I still remember your apartment in Silverlake. You are very well-endowed. You left me on a street corner afterwards. I was 15. pic.twitter.com/mVqiN4S9NW
— Rose McGowan (@rosemcgowan) August 17, 2020
I just want an acknowledgement and an apology. I do not want to destroy. This was me at 15. pic.twitter.com/XeNpsrpY4s
— Rose McGowan (@rosemcgowan) August 17, 2020
View this post on Instagram
Last night I dropped a bomb of truth. For years I had thought a man I had sexual relations with was a a sexual experience I had. I now know I was groomed. I auditioned for him at 15. After my experience with him, I quit acting entirely until I was ‘discovered’ at 21. When that happened, I was like, fuck it, let’s do this. I even tweeted a congratulations on his Oscar win in 2012, that’s how deep in the Cult of Hollywood I was. It wasn’t until three weeks after the Weinstein story broke that I re-evaluated the situation. I feel badly about throwing a bomb into someone’s life and career, but I guess that’s social conditioning. I’m more sad than angry. Sad for 15 year-old me. Sad for the adult me that still thought it was a choice I made. Grooming is real. I want you all to know that it’s not your fault if you were mentally massaged into thinking it’s okay. It is not. I know this now. I would even go up to this director at events and ask him, with a smile, “remember when you had sex with me at 15?” And I would laugh it off. That is deep societal programming. If you are out there trying to have sex with an underage minor, you are committing a crime, even if the minor doesn’t know it. I was attracted to him, so I thought it was on me, but that’s not correct. I was not an adult. When it happened, I’d recently been left behind in Hollywood by a family member to fend for myself. The wolves preyed. Please recognize that if this has happened to you, the shame is not yours, it’s theirs. Give it back. Groomers are skilled operators and at 15, I was not aware of the warning signs. I named him on Twitter, but since Instagram is my softer side, I just don’t want his name here. Goddess bless us all, except for those that abuse their power. Here’s to freedom, yours and mine.