Rose McGowan’s new memoir, Brave, gives a stark account of her escape from her allegedly abusive caretakers into Hollywood, an industry that she would ultimately find even more exploitive than the literal cult to which her parents once belonged. Of those abusers, none loomed larger that movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, whom McGowan, 44, refers to only as “the Monster,” and whose alleged abuse of her she described in unflinching detail.
In a book review for The New York Times, journalist Michelle Goldberg said that a recurring theme in the book, and in life, is how abusers “deliberately destabilize [women], then use their instability as a reason to disbelieve them.”
“Much of Brave reads like the diary of a woman driven half-mad by abusive men who assume no one will listen to her,” wrote Goldberg, pointing out that McGowan’s claims about having her “life infiltrated by Israeli spies and harassing lawyers” would sound like hyperbole were it not for the fact that Weinstein, did, in fact, use Israeli spies who directly communicated with McGowan and undermined her as she attempted to expose her abuser’s crimes.
Before she ever encountered Weinstein, McGowan was raised in the polygamous Children of God cult. After her parents fled the cult, she bounced between the care of a cruel father and an unreliable mother who dated a man that McGowan said would later be charged with abusing his own daughter. By the time she reached Hollywood, a teenaged McGowan had already emancipated herself from her parents. Then, in 1997 at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah, the young actress was offered a meeting with Weinstein at a restaurant. But when she arrived at the restaurant, the host told her to go to Weinstein’s suite in the adjoining hotel instead. Inside the suite, McGowan writes in the book, Weinstein forcibly stripped her and performed oral sex on her while masturbating in a jacuzzi. “I freeze, like a statue,” she writes, in chilling detail. “He moans loudly; through my tears I see his semen floating on top of the bubbles.”
After the assault, she was taken to appear in a photo-op with Ben Affleck, her co-star in a film called Phantoms. Seeing McGowan in distress, Affleck said to her, “Goddamn it. I told him to stop doing that.” When she tried to press charges against Weinstein, she was told by a lawyer that she wouldn’t be believed. Instead, she wrote, Weinstein blacklisted her from the film community.
On Tuesday, McGowan appeared on a series of morning shows to discuss her new memoir. During a visit to Good Morning America, McGowan speculated about the breadth of Weinstein’s sexual misconduct, and how he’d built a system to feed his abusive behavior. “The machinery was set up in every country he would go to for the handlers to hand him the victims,” McGowan told Robin Roberts. “I would probably estimate there’s got to be over a thousand [victims], maybe 2,000 because this is a lifelong career of rape for this man.”
Weinstein again disputed McGowan’s accusations issuing a statement through his attorney that read, “Mr. Weinstein denies Rose McGowan’s allegations of non-consensual sexual contact and it is erroneous and irresponsible to conflate claims of inappropriate behavior and consensual sexual contact later regretted, with an untrue claim of rape.” Watch her full interview on GMA below.
Read the full story at The New York Times.