Culture

Rose McGowan Is Leading An Uprising Against Hollywood “Bros” After The Weinstein Scandal

She's calling for mass resignations.

Rose McGowan sure has had a day! The actress (who you might know best as Paige in Charmed or Tatum in Scream) is emerging as one of the most vocal public detractors of Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein as stories of his alleged history of sexual assault pile up.

McGowan was named by The New York Times last week as one of a number of women who reached financial settlements with Weinstein over the past two decades. The actress filed charges over an alleged “episode in a hotel room” and the matter was settled in 1997 because Weinstein wanted to “avoid litigation and buy peace”. It was noted the settlement was “not to be construed as an admission”.

Though she declined to provide comment for the initial explosive report, McGowan is now providing an awful lot more.

After praising the writers and editors of the NYT for their work on the piece that brought these accusations to light, McGowan has spoken to The Hollywood Reporter about what she sees as a broader problem with powerful men in the industry.

“Men in Hollywood need to change ASAP,” she said. “Hollywood’s power is dying because society has changed and grown, and yet Hollywood male behaviour has not. It is so not a good look … The men of Hollywood need to know they own no woman. The days of Entourage-like behaviour and thinking is as dated as your largely bro nature.”

Weinstein has now been fired from his position at The Weinstein Company, but McGowan says things need to be taken much further. “I’m calling on the board [of The Weinstein Company] to resign effective immediately,” she said. “And for other men to stop other men when they are being disgusting. And for the women in Hollywood, free your minds.

“There are no ‘rules’ you have to play by. We affect the world’s mind because we are creating and disseminating thought propaganda. There is a great responsibility to be better than you have to be. Stand for women. Stand for truth. Stop hurting us. Rise.”

On Twitter, McGowan has specifically named the company’s board members with a plea for them to resign and asked other Hollywood actors, directors and producers to stand beside her.

Writing for The Wrap, reporter Sharon Waxman has alleged that Matt Damon and Russell Crowe helped kill her own story on Weinstein’s sexual assault allegations 13 years ago by vouching for sources who supported (and allegedly protected) the producer. For this and his past work with the producer, Damon has attracted specific condemnation.

Though a number of high-profile celebrities — including Meryl Streep, Judi Dench, Seth Rogen and more — have now spoken out against Weinstein, there’s increasing pressure on those (particularly men) who’ve worked with him closely in the past such as Quentin Tarantino and Ben Affleck.

McGowan has accused these people of being “weak and scared” in not speaking out, and has put extra public pressure on filmmaker Kevin Smith after his statement today.

Though the furore around Harvey Weinstein feels particularly frenzied right now, it’s important to remember that discussion on the broader issue of sexual misconduct in Hollywood has been a long time coming. Accusations have been levelled at a huge number of men who still wield enormous power in the industry; a scandal breaks, there’s an outcry, and more often than not, the person accused faces little consequence. That creates an oppressive environment for survivors — and women generally — to speak out at all. It means we hear some important stories much later than we should.

In light of this, McGowan is being given particular praise for her strength. It’s been 20 years since she first made accusations against Weinstein.

In her latest tweets, she’s calling for action from everyone, whether they’re in Hollywood or not: “Share some truth. Do your part. Retweet. Get loud. Push back. Bring it down.”

If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECT.org.auIn an emergency, call 000.

Men can access anonymous confidential telephone counselling to help to stop using violent and controlling behaviour through the Men’s Referral Service on 1300 766 491.