Rose McGowan, the actress whose public allegations helped lead to the imprisonment of the once-celebrated super-producer Harvey Weinstein, has accused the director Alexander Payne of sexually inappropriate behavior towards her when she was 15.
In a series of tweets which McGowan sent Monday morning, the actress alleged that Payne, the Oscar-winning director of movies such as Sideways and Nebraska, played her a pornographic movie, and implied he had, at a minimum, exposed himself to her.
McGowan, one of the heroes of the #metoo movement, followed up a few hours later by apparently urging Payne to confirm that her allegation was true and apologize for his alleged misconduct.
McGowan’s shocking new claim appears to match up with a 90-minute talk she gave in February 2018 in conversation with journalist Ronan Farrow, which was reported by The Cut.
In that conversation, which was organized to promote her autobiography Brave, McGowan and Farrow alluded to a powerful man in Hollywood who had sexually abused her. The details appear to overlap with her new public allegations against Payne.
“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 to the actress.
“Yes, and I didn’t process that until—well, I’ll get to him,” McGowan responded. She didn’t name him at the time, but claimed that a “very famous” director abused her when she was 15 years old.
“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,” she said. “And then he left me next to Tropical in Silver Lake, standing on a street corner.”
McGowan said that she had only realized much later that the encounter would qualify as a statutory rape allegation, saying: “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.”
In 2017, Time recognized McGowan as one of the “Silence Breakers” who were named her as Person of the Year for speaking out about sexual assault and harassment.
In October 2017, The New York Times revealed that McGowan received a $100,000 settlement from movie mogul Harvey Weinstein in relation to an alleged sexual assault in 1997.
Weinstein, 67, has since been found guilty of rape and sexual assault and has been sentenced to 23 years in jail, but further cases against him may yet extend that term.