I remember the days when Rose McGowan was making headlines for the popular television show Charmed. McGowan played one of three witch siblings who combined their efforts to slay demons. Now she’s fighting another battle, and chances are that you’ve heard something about it.
Since October of last year, her name conjures a whirlwind of news with regards to the Harvey Weinstein scandal. In this moment, I have to ask myself, where did this all even begin? The New York Times released the first article with sexual assault allegations against Weinstein where Rose McGowan and Ashley Judd shared their experiences.
Reports suggest that an incident involving McGowan and Weinstein occurred in a hotel room during the Sundance Film Festival in 1997. McGowan accuses Weinstein of rape, and Weinstein denies any accusations.
McGowan recently stated how someone in Weinstein’s circle had offered her one million dollars to never speak of the situation. At the time, McGowan received one hundred thousand dollars in a settlement. Sadly, if you Google the Weinstein accusers’ stories, many of them match up eerily well and share elements such as hotel rooms, Weinstein in hardly any clothing, career advancement offers, and sexual pressure.
Of course, what kind of scandal in the 21st century doesn’t create controversy on Twitter? In December, McGowan had a spat with Meryl Streep on the social media platform by tweeting, “actresses like Meryl Streep…your silence is the problem.” Streep responded that she “didn’t know” about that side of Weinstein. However, McGowan recently thanked Streep for showing gratitude towards her pioneering efforts.
Stephen Colbert, in my opinion, managed to shed light on McGowan’s perspectives. The charismatic host noted that she’s “comfortable with discomfort.” The former Charmed star agreed, and this could be interpreted more generally to her calling out her colleagues, leading the charge against Weinstein, and fighting sexual assault in general.
In a double move, McGowan released her memoir Brave a few days ago, which coincided with the airing of her television documentary series Citizen Rose. Brave outlines all the toxic environments she found herself in from a young age, whereas Citizen Rose focuses primarily on Hollywood, Weinstein, and Me Too.
More generally, scores of women across Hollywood including Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, and Lupita Nyong’o have reported stories of Weinstein making sexual advances. The result of these actions was like finding a single spider in your bedroom and tracking its movement to your basement to find massive nests. Names such as Kevin Spacey and Dustin Hoffman surfaced in addition to many more. Correspondingly, numerous Hollywood stars spoke out in response to the scandal.
Jennifer Lawrence has noted how she was never a victim of a Weinstein encounter, although she claims to have heard rumors of him being “a dog.”
In a Los Angeles Times interview, Kate Winslet described how Weinstein’s circle tried to pressure her into thanking him in her Oscar acceptance speech for The Reader. Winslet refused after recounting how Weinstein would call her agent a “vulgar name for a woman” every time he spoke to her on the phone.
When the scandal ignited, the talented Star Wars director J.J. Abrams doubted that Weinstein was “a lone operator.” Essentially, the sexual assaults are a systemic issue, and we certainly haven’t heard the last of them. Still, they have brought up incredibly important conversations for our society, which I earnestly hope continue and result in change.
By Kishan Patel