Rose McGowan says she was offered a significant sum of money in exchange for her silence about Harvey Weinstein, an offer she declined one day before the Oct. 5 New York Times exposé revealed alleged decades of sexual harassment and misconduct at the hands of the now-disgraced Hollywood mogul. The story opened the floodgates, with Weinstein’s accusers now numbering past 60 and including multiple rape claims.
Through her lawyer, McGowan told the Times on Saturday that someone close to Weinstein offered her $1 million in exchange for signing a nondisclosure agreement. The revelation came one day after she publicly broke her silence during the inaugural Women’s Convention in Detroit.
The Times had initially reported that McGowan had reached a $100,000 settlement with Weinstein after a 1997 hotel room encounter during the Sundance Film Festival. Though McGowan had previously revealed she was a rape survivor and that her assault was perpetrated by a powerful studio boss, she did not comment in the Oct. 5 story.
It wasn’t until the Times and New Yorker stories spurred an onslaught of additional allegations that McGowan tweeted about her alleged attacker, later confirming to The Hollywood Reporter that Weinstein is the Hollywood studio executive she says raped her.
In this weekend’s Times story, McGowan says she learned over the summer that her settlement did not include a confidentiality clause. While working on an upcoming memoir, titled Brave, McGowan says she considered the offer, which came in September, due to financial needs. McGowan, no longer acting, believes her career took a hit over her experience with Weinstein.
“I had all these people I’m paying telling me to take it so that I could fund my art,” McGowan told the Times. She countered the offer with a $6 million ask, but then told her lawyer to ultimately pull the offer within a day of the Times story posting. “I figured I could probably have gotten him up to three [million dollars],” she said. “But I was like — ew, gross, you’re disgusting, I don’t want your money, that would make me feel disgusting.”
When taking the stage on Friday at Detroit’s Cobo Arena, McGowan, who also launched a hub for her “Rose Army” that same day, told a crowd of 5,000 women, “I have been silenced for 20 years. I have been slut-shamed. I have been harassed. I’ve been maligned. And you know what? I’m just like you.” In her defiant speech, she called on any victims of sexual harassment or assault to “name it, shame it and call it out,” and for Hollywood to “clean house.”
While speaking to the Times, McGowan also shared her account of the 1997 encounter with Weinstein. During the annual Sundance film fest in Park City, Utah, the actress, who had recently appeared in The Weinstein Co.’s Scream, had an appointment with Weinstein at the restaurant in his hotel, the Stein Eriksen Lodge. When she arrived, she says the maitre d’ directed her upstairs to Weinstein’s suite, past two male assistants who “wouldn’t look me in the eye” and into his room.
After their brief business meeting, McGowan says Weinstein told her the room had a hot tub. “And then what happened, happened,” she said. “Suffice it to say a door opened and my life changed.”
Declining to share any further details of the incident, McGowan said she went straight to a press event where she fought back tears and told Ben Affleck and her then-manager, Jill Messick, what had happened. (McGowan had previously accused Affleck of knowing about Weinstein’s behavior on Twitter, something the actor has not commented on.)
In the following months, however, McGowan says she was given the impression that filing a criminal charge was hopeless, recalling being told, “You’re an actress, you’ve done a sex scene, you’re done.” When a lawyer confronted Weinstein with McGowan’s claim, Weinstein said he was “going to get psychiatric help or some kind of treatment for his sexual behavior,” attorney Nick Wechsler told the Times.
After the settlement was reached, Messick accepted a job working at Miramax, which was then run by Weinstein.
The Times spoke to several people who knew McGowan at the time, detailing how the experience impacted her moving forward personally and professionally, from the roles she took to dating Marilyn Manson. While recalling starring in 2007’s Grindhouse, which was distributed by Bob Weinstein’s Dimension Films, McGowan said: “I was really lost at that point. I was damaged.”
Admitting that she still feels rage, McGowan told the Times reporter, citing the astounding number of women who are coming forward with their stories, “I’ll tell you what I don’t feel anymore. Despair.”
Weinstein unequivocally denies any allegations of nonconsensual sex. McGowan’s lawyer confirmed the money offer to the Times.