When Rose McGowan sat down with Ronan Farrow for an intimate discussion about her new book, Brave, onstage in New York Thursday night, she made two things very clear: She doesn’t care what people think, and she speaks when she wants to.
McGowan and Farrow teamed up to accuse former movie mogul Harvey Weinstein of rape and other sexual abuse through a series of bombshell New Yorker reports published in October. At 92Y, the “Charmed” actress said she’s ready to name another high-profile Hollywood abuser ― although there’s no telling when she’ll do so.
After touching on the actress’ earliest experiences with sexual assault, as detailed in her heavy memoir, Farrow asked McGowan about a “statutory rape by a prominent man in Hollywood” that she told him about previously.
“Yes, and I didn’t process that, actually, until ― I’ll get to him,” she began.
“Is that a story you’re ready to tell?” Farrow asked.
“Right now? Or in general? In general, sure. Right now at this moment? I’ve had a big day,” McGowan responded, revealing a few details.
“Let me tell you, he worked for my rapist and won Oscars. Let me tell you, this man picked me up when I was 15 years old,” she said. (McGowan seemed to pointedly avoid saying Weinstein’s name all evening.) She had landed a job at a talent agency by fudging her age, she added. When the man took her home, she said they watched “a soft porn movie he made for Showtime, under a different name, of course,” before having sex.
“And then he left me next to Cafe Tropical in Silver Lake standing on a street corner,” she said.
The actress didn’t identify the incident as statutory rape until two weeks after Farrow’s first Weinstein story was published, because she had considered the man attractive and believed she consented to the encounter, despite her young age.
“I don’t have a normal trajectory, I don’t know if you do either,” she told Farrow, son of actress Mia Farrow, who replied with a slight grin, “I do not.”
The conversation lasted more than 90 minutes, soliciting laughs from the audience along with some strong emotion from McGowan. At one point, Farrow reached over and gave a tissue out to the actress as she shed tears. Despite this, McGowan didn’t shy away from answering Farrow’s hard-hitting questions.
McGowan defended her criticism of the Time’s Up movement for its ties to Creative Artists Agency, a top talent agency and a major force in Hollywood, saying, “They are dirty people. They are bad people.” She also defended her right to criticize Alyssa Milano, the former “Charmed” co-star and Time’s Up supporter who McGowan called “a lie” earlier this week (Milano is friends with Georgina Chapman, Weinstein’s estranged wife, and her husband works as an agency for CAA.)
Through an upcoming documentary, a social media campaign and her new book, which criticizes systems of gender-based oppression, McGowan strives to represent empowerment. Still, she carries a fear of repercussions. Asked what she was afraid of now, McGowan replied with a straight face: “Assassination.”
“I know that people like me get killed,” she said.
The actress linked certain misfortunes to a vendetta from Weinstein, a not so far-fetched suggestion considering Weinstein reportedly hired intelligence companies largely composed of former Mossad agents to dig up dirt on women and journalists who wished to publicly accuse him of sexual misconduct.
She referred to a “plant” at a book signing the day before, when a trans woman had slammed her over LGBTQ sensitivity. McGowan said she was later told her critic was paid off. She also said that she was told an unnamed individual was offered a large sum to obtain her hotel room number. The actress was arrested and currently faces charges for possessing drugs in Virginia after traces of cocaine were found in her wallet en route to the Women’s March in 2017.
“I hate that handcuffs have been on me and not him,” she said, referring to Weinstein.
“When they slapped those handcuffs on me, they were cold and heavy. I had a plan for my mugshot of looking tough. But I was not in my body. When they did that, I did what I did when I was raped. I floated above. In that photo, I am literally not there. And I knew that was probably the expression when that happened to me,” she said. “There must be some kind of justice.”
Brave is available in bookstores now.