Rose McGowan Takes Aim at Hollywood in Impassioned Speech
"I have been silenced for 20 years. ... It's time to clean house," the actress said during her first public appearance since the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke.
When Rose McGowan took the stage at The Women's Convention in Detroit on Friday, it was the first time the actress has spoken out publicly since the news of Harvey Weinstein's disturbing behavior first broke Oct. 5 in a story that cited McGowan as one of his alleged victims.
"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," she began, kicking off a passionate speech about how women need to take their power back from harassers. “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.”
The New York Times reported that McGowan had reached a settlement with the disgraced Hollywood movie mogul 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 story. It wasn't until the Weinstein story opened the floodgates of Hollywood that McGowan tweeted about her alleged attacker, later confirming to The Hollywood Reporter in her only public statement since that Weinstein is the Hollywood studio executive she says raped her.
Amid the onslaught of Hollywood allegations coming to light and the empowering #MeToo sexual harassment and assault movement, McGowan has emerged as a key Hollywood voice on social media since the first report on Weinstein, even spurring a day of protest when the social platform suspended her account for tweeting a private telephone number. When she took the stage on Friday, McGowan remained defiant as she attempted to expose the ugly side of Hollywood she claims to have known all too well.
"Hollywood may seem like it's an isolated thing, but it is not," she told the estimated crowd of 5,000 women who had turned up to Detroit's Cobo Arena for the inaugural three-day Detroit convention, organized by the founders of the Women's March on Washington. "It is the messaging system for your mind. It is the mirror that you're given to look into. This is what you are as a woman. This is what you are as a man. This is what you are as a boy. Girl. Gay. Straight. Transgender."
She continued, "But it's all told through 96 percent males in the Directors Guild of America. That statistic has not changed since 1946," she claimed, "so 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 my mind. It's time to clean house."
She then raised her fist firmly in the air, her defiant words eliciting a roar of cheers. For the record, the DGA's director membership is 85 percent male, working TV directors are 83 percent male but feature directors are 94 percent male — and 96.8 percent male when considering only those films that did at least $100 million in domestic box office. While studios, networks, producers and agents act as gatekeepers, the DGA does not.
McGowan opened by telling the women "we are one collective massive voice" and referenced what she has been calling her Rose Army. Timed to her speech, the actress launched a website, RoseArmy.com, a movement calling on women to raise their voices, fight for truth to "be a thorn and enlist."
Explaining that each strong women is her own rose, the actress said, "We have thorns. Our thorns carry justice. And our thorns carry consequence. No more will we be shunted to the side. No more will we be hurt. It’s time to be whole. It’s time to rise."
Calling the current climate a time to be brave, she referenced Weinstein by saying, "In the face of unspeakable actions from one monster we look away to another. The head monster of all right now." McGowan spoke of the last month being a difficult and "triggering" time, where she says her "monster's" face has been everywhere.
She asked of her allies, "The paradigm must be subverted. It is time. We’ve been waiting a very long time for this to happen but we don’t have to wait anymore."
Speaking directly to other victims, McGowan encouraged anyone who has been attacked to come forward and name their attacker.
"I came to be a voice for all of us who have been told that we are nothing. For all us who have been looked down on. For all of us who have been grabbed by the motherfucking pussy," she said. "No more. Name it, shame it and call it out. Join me."
She ended on a fiery call, "Pussies grab back. Women grab back. We speak! We yell. We march. We are here. We will not go away. My name is Rose McGowan and I am brave and I am you."
The Women's Convention was expected to draw thousands of women during its weekend of events and takes place through Sunday. McGowan took the stage after opening remarks from U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow and Me Too movement founder Tarana Burke.
Later on Friday, McGowan will also be participating in a panel that will speak with survivors of sexual assault.
Karen Dybis and Jonathan Handel contributed to this report.
10/27/2017 10:50 a.m. added DGA statistics