Actor Rose McGowan — speaking out publicly on Friday for the first time since accusing producer Harvey Weinstein of rape — called on women to fight back against a culture of sexual harassment, saying “the scarlet letter is theirs; it is not ours.”
“I have been silenced for 20 years,” she said, speaking at the Women’s Convention in Detroit. “I have been slut-shamed. I have been harassed. I have been maligned, and you know what? I’m just like you because what happened to me behind the scenes happens to all of us in this society. And that cannot stand, and it will not stand.”
McGowan, who has been a vocal critic of sexism in Hollywood, identified Weinstein this month as the studio executive who she previously said had raped her. She is one of several women who have come forward in recent weeks to accuse Weinstein of sexual harassment and assault in reports published by the New York Times and the New Yorker.
“No more. Name it. Shame it. Call it out,” McGowan said. “It’s time to be whole, it’s time to rise, it’s time to be brave.”
Weinstein reached a $100,000 settlement with McGowan in 1997 following an incident in a hotel room during the Sundance Film Festival when she was 23, the Times reported. The legal document said it was “not to be construed as an admission,” according to the Times article.
Weinstein has apologized for his workplace behavior, but has denied any allegations of rape and sexual assault. “Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein,” his spokesperson has previously said.
“Hollywood may seem like it is an isolated thing, but it’s not. It is the messaging system for your mind,” McGowan said, adding that the majority of directors and producers in Hollywood are men. “We are given one view, and I know the men behind that view. And they should not be in your mind, and they should not be in mine. It’s time to clean house.”