For Rose McGowan, "speaking up" has never really felt like a matter of choice. The 44-year-old actor, who accused former Miramax mogul Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault last October, claims that she’d been relegated into decades of silence by several outside forces, each of which not-so-subtly implored her to kindly shut up. But in the release of her new memoir, Brave, McGowan describes her alleged encounter with Weinstein for the first time, in gruesome, unapologetic detail. "Mr. Weinstein denies Ms. McGowan’s allegations of non-consensual sexual contact," said a spokesperson in a statement to Bustle. "Mr. Weinstein has further confirmed that there were never any acts of retaliation against any women for refusing his advances."
UPDATE: On Tuesday, Jan, 30, Ben Brafman, attorney for Weinstein, released the following statement to Bustle:
"As a general matter, Harvey Weinstein and his attorneys have refrained from publicly criticizing any of the women who have made allegations of sexual assault against Mr. Weinstein despite a wealth of evidence that would demonstrate the patent falsity of these claims. Watching the 'performance' by Rose McGowan as she looks to promote her new book however, has made it impossible to remain quiet as she tries to smear Mr. Weinstein with a bold lie that is denied not only by Mr. Weinstein himself, but by at least two witnesses, including Ms. McGowan's own Manager at the time who Ms. McGowan claims to have confided in the day after the alleged assault and an A-list actor Ben Affleck who Ms. McGowan claims to have also told about her encounter with Mr. Weinstein shortly after the incident she now describes as 'rape', but which in 1997 she described to her Manager as a 'consensual' act of sex."
The statement continued:
"In an email to Mr. Weinstein regarding the encounter, Jill Messick says the following, 'When we met up the following day, she hesitantly told me of her own accord that during the meeting that night before she had gotten into a hot tub with Mr. Weinstein. She was very clear about the fact that getting into that hot tub was something that she did consensually and that in hindsight it was also something that she regretted having done.'
Ben Affleck expressed the following in an email to Mr. Weinstein, 'She never told me nor did I ever infer that she was attacked by anyone. Any accounts to the contrary are false. I have no knowledge about anything Rose did or claimed to have done.'”
EARLIER: In a lot of ways, Brave — which officially hits stands Jan. 30 — serves as a kind of narrative redemption tour for the actor, who chronicles a near-lifetime's worth of abuse (to varying degrees) in the razor-sharp upcoming memoir, hinging on her alleged encounter with Weinstein at the 1997 Sundance Film Festival. While the book does offer some insights into the chilling details of McGowan's upbringing, its framework is based upon her alleged encounter with Weinstein, whom she exclusively refers to as "the Monster" in her writings, according to The New York Times.
As she writes: the year was 1997, and she'd allegedly been "summoned" to a meeting at a swanky hotel restaurant in Park City, Utah (the annual site of the Sundance Film Festival). But, upon arrival, the restaurant's host allegedly redirected McGowan to Weinstein's suite, apparently telling her that the big-shot Hollywood producer was "stuck on a call." The actor, whose career had just begun to pick up speed, assumed Weinstein's motives to allegedly meet with her were more of the "mentor" variety. "I was certain we would be working together for many years to come, and we were here to plot out the grand arc of my career," McGowan writes in Brave.
But, when 23-year-old McGowan allegedly arrived to Weinstein's hotel room, she claims that, instead, he promptly shoved her into a room with a Jacuzzi and removed her clothes. Weinstein allegedly physically maneuvered her so that she was seated on the edge of the Jacuzzi. Then, McGowan writes, Weinstein allegedly got into the Jacuzzi himself and began performing oral sex on her while masturbating.
As the New York Times reported, McGowan's alleged experience, as she recounts it in Brave, bears striking resemblance to that of actor-director Asia Argento, who described her own alleged Weinstein encounter in an October 2017 interview with The New Yorker. And, much like Argento, McGowan also claims to have "feigned pleasure," hoping that might compel an expedited end to the allegedly interaction. "He moans loudly," McGowan claims, "through my tears I see his semen floating on top of the bubbles."
Following her grisly tell-all regarding Weinstein's alleged assault, Brave also chronicles the lasting impact that the alleged encounter had on McGowan's life thereafter, both personally and professionally. In addition to Weinstein's $100,000 settlement payment in 1997 — which was, according to the copy of the settlement printed in the New Yorker, "not [to] be construed as an admission of liability" — McGowan writes that she was "counseled" by her colleagues to see the alleged encounter as "something that would help [her] career in the long run." And, in the aftermath of the alleged encounter, McGowan claims that she'd heard that Weinstein had been allegedly "calling around town" imploring industry personnel not to hire her.
Now, more than 20 years later, it seems McGowan has finally found her voice. In the wake of Hollywood's Time's Up movement, the actor has been active in her staunch advocacy for women's rights, using her own alleged experiences as a means of raising awareness about sexual assault, holding abusers accountable, and empowering other women who might be going through something similar.
If her unbelievable frankness in Brave is any indication, it looks like McGowan has finally taken "speaking up" into her own hands. And that, above all else, is very brave.
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, call the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673) or visit online.rainn.org.