Rose McGowan has accused The Descendants and Sideways director Alexander Payne of sexual misconduct. The actress shared her alleged experience with Payne in a chain of tweets Sunday and Monday, recounting spending time with the two-time Oscar winner when she was 15 years old.
“You sat me down & played a soft-core porn movie you directed for Showtime under a different name,” she wrote. “I still remember your apartment in Silverlake.”
McGowan, who was one of the fist women to openly speak about Harvey Weinstein’s predetory behavior that eventually led to his eventual trial and conviction on sexual assault charges, said Payne left her on a street corner after their time together.
In another tweet in response to her first, the Charmed actress posted a photo of herself at age 15 and said she isn’t bringing up the incident with intentions “to destroy.” Instead, she demanded an acknowledgement and apology from the director.
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Payne and his reps have not responded to requests for comment.
McGowan recalled what appears to be the same incident in 2018 during a conversation with Ronan Farrow, according to The Cut. During the conversation, Farrow noted that the actress told him she had experienced statutory rape at the hands of “a prominent man in Hollywood.” She did not name names at the time, but she said that the director took her home, showed her an inappropriate movie and engaged with her sexually. She told Farrow that since she had been attracted to the him, she played off the incident a “sexual experience.”
On Monday, the actress posted a lengthy statement on Instagram about her accusation, saying “I now know I was groomed.”
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Last night I dropped a bomb of truth. For years I had thought a man I had sexual relations with was a 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, fuck 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. 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. 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. 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.
McGowan emancipated herself sometime in the late 1980s and moved to Los Angeles, which was about the same time Payne started bringing in directing credits. His first directing project was 1985’s Carmen.