Actress Rose McGowan, who was one of the first women to come forward with sexual assault claims against Harvey Weinstein, has now publicly accused director Alexander Payne of sexual misconduct stemming from an alleged incident when she was 15 years old. In a tweet posted on Monday, McGowan directly called out Payne, and stated, "You sat me down & played a soft-core porn movie you directed for Showtime under a different name. I still remember your apartment in Silverlake. You are very well-endowed. You left me on a street corner afterwards. I was 15."
In a follow-up tweet, McGowan shared a photo of herself as a teenager, and wrote, "I just want an acknowledgement and an apology. I do not want to destroy. This was me at 15." Payne is an award-winning writer and director who has garnered two Best Adapted Screenplay Oscars — Sideways (2006) and The Descendants (2012) — and two Golden Globe Awards, including one for Best Motion Picture – Drama for The Descendants. His other Golden Globe was for Best Screenplay for 2003's About Schmidt. Some of Paynes other major motion picture projects include Citizen Ruth (1996), Election (1999), Nebraska (2013), and Downsizing (2017).
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After her tweets, McGowan took to Instagram to comment on what she chose to speak out, writing, "Last night I dropped a bomb of truth. For years I had thought a man I had sexual relations with was a sexual experience I had. I now know I was groomed. I auditioned for him at 15. After my experience with him, I quit acting entirely until I was 'discovered' at 21. When that happened, I was like, f— it, let's do this. I even tweeted a congratulations on his Oscar win in 2012, that's how deep in the Cult of Hollywood I was. It wasn't until three weeks after the Weinstein story broke that I re-evaluated the situation."
The actress went on to say, "I feel badly about throwing a bomb into someone's life and career, but I guess that's social conditioning. I'm more sad than angry. Sad for 15-year-old me. Sad for the adult me that still thought it was a choice I made. Grooming is real. I want you all to know that it's not your fault if you were mentally massaged into thinking it's okay. It is not. I know this now."
McGowan continued, "I would even go up to this director at events and ask him, with a smile, 'remember when you had sex with me at 15?' And I would laugh it off. That is deep societal programming. If you are out there trying to have sex with an underage minor, you are committing a crime, even if the minor doesn't know it. I was attracted to him, so I thought it was on me, but that's not correct."
Finally, McGowan added, "I was not an adult. When it happened, I'd recently been left behind in Hollywood by a family member to fend for myself. The wolves preyed. Please recognize that if this has happened to you, the shame is not yours, it's theirs. Give it back. Groomers are skilled operators and at 15, I was not aware of the warning signs. I named him on Twitter, but since Instagram is my softer side, I just don't want his name here. Goddess bless us all, except for those that abuse their power. Here's to freedom, yours and mine."