In Harvey Weinstein saga, Rose McGowan emerges as powerful voice
Scandal widens as Amazon Studios chief put on leave
In a flurry of unrestrained tweets and with the "RoseArmy" at her back, Rose McGowan has emerged as a kind of whistleblowing avenger in the Harvey Weinstein saga, leaving a scorched path behind her across social media.
After long referencing a past incident with Weinstein, McGowan on Thursday for the first time said it outright: "HW raped me," the American actress wrote, apparently referring to the embattled former Weinstein Co. co-chair.
1) <a href="https://twitter.com/JeffBezos?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@jeffbezos</a> I told the head of your studio that HW raped me. Over & over I said it. He said it hadn’t been proven. I said I was the proof.—@rosemcgowan
Weinstein representative Sallie Hofmeister said "any allegations of non-consensual contact are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein."
The Hollywood Reporter said McGowan confirmed it was Weinstein she was referring to; her representative did not respond to a message seeking comment.
McGowan's accusation was the latest development in the fast-unraveling saga surrounding Weinstein.
Police detectives in New York and London said Thursday that they are taking a fresh look into sexual assault allegations against Weinstein now that some 30 women have accused him of inappropriate conduct. Hachette Book Group, one of the country's top publishers, announced it has pulled the plug on its Weinstein Books imprint.
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But it has been McGowan who has spoken the loudest , even though she spent half of Thursday suspended by Twitter.
McGowan last year said that she had been raped by a "studio head." The New Yorker exposé that ran Tuesday reported that Weinstein had allegedly sexually assaulted three women, though the third woman was unnamed. The New York Times earlier reported that Weinstein paid a financial settlement of $100,000 US to McGowan in 1997 after an episode at a hotel room during the Sundance Film Festival in Utah.
That settlement included provisions about speaking about the case in the future, but McGowan has increasingly refused to mince words. "It's on," tweeted McGowan before launching into a series of tweets directed at Amazon head Jeff Bezos.
Amazon is developing two series with The Weinstein Co. — The Romanoffs, from Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner, and an untitled drama from filmmaker David O. Russell and starring Robert De Niro and Julianne Moore. The studio also partnered with The Weinstein Co. on the recent Oscar-winning film Manchester By the Sea.
"I told the head of your studio that HW raped me," said McGowan in tweets directed to Bezos. "Over and Over I said it. He said it hadn't been proven. I said I was the proof."
2) <a href="https://twitter.com/JeffBezos?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@jeffbezos</a> I had already sold a script I wrote to your studio, it was in development. When I heard a Weinstein bailout was in the works—@rosemcgowan
3) <a href="https://twitter.com/JeffBezos?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Jeffbezos</a> I forcefully begged studio head to do the right thing. I was ignored. Deal was done. Amazon won a dirty Oscar.—@rosemcgowan
4) <a href="https://twitter.com/JeffBezos?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@jeffbezos</a> I called my attorney & said I want to get my script back, but before I could, #2 <a href="https://twitter.com/AmazonStudios?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@amazonstudios</a> called to say my show was dead—@rosemcgowan
4) <a href="https://twitter.com/JeffBezos?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@jeffbezos</a> I am calling on you to stop funding rapists, alleged pedos and sexual harassers. I love <a href="https://twitter.com/amazon?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@amazon</a> but there is rot in Hollywood—@rosemcgowan
5) <a href="https://twitter.com/JeffBezos?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@jeffbezos</a> Be the change you want to see in the world. Stand with truth. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ROSEARMY?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ROSEARMY</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Amazon?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Amazon</a>—@rosemcgowan
Amazon did not return a message seeking comment.
Authorities are also seeking evidence against Weinstein, who in a video posted by celebrity website TMZ was shown Wednesday outside a Los Angeles home telling the paparazzi he's "not doing OK" and that he "needs help."
Police reviewing files, investigating claims
Peter Donald, a New York Police Department spokesperson, said Thursday that investigators are reviewing police files to see if anyone else reported being assaulted or harassed by him.
So far, no filed complaints have been found, he said, other than one well-known case that prompted an investigation in 2015, but authorities are encouraging anyone with information on Weinstein to contact the department.
London police were also looking into a claim it had received from the Merseyside force in northwest England, British media reported Thursday. Merseyside police said the allegation was made a day earlier and concerned "an alleged sexual assault in the London area in the 1980s."
Some 30 women — including actresses Angelina Jolie, Ashley Judd and Gwyneth Paltrow — have spoken out recently to say Weinstein had sexually harassed or sexually assaulted them. Weinstein was fired Sunday by The Weinstein Co., a studio he co-founded with his brother.
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Some of the allegations involved conduct at hotels in Beverly Hills, but police there didn't return calls on whether they were investigating any possible crimes. The Los Angeles Police Department has no open investigations.
Detectives in the NYPD's special victims unit were instructed to identify and speak with any potential victims, including the women who spoke about their encounters with Weinstein in the New Yorker article, according to a law enforcement official briefed on the matter who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
The Summit County Sheriff's Office, which shares a records system with Park City Police, had no reports or calls involving Weinstein or McGowan in the past 30 years, sheriff's spokesman Lt. Andrew Wright said.
In the New Yorker exposée, a former actress, Lucia Evans, alleged Weinstein forced her to perform oral sex in 2004 when she was a college student. A second woman, actress and filmmaker Asia Argento, told the magazine that Weinstein forcibly performed oral sex on her in 1997 at a hotel in France. Under New York law, making someone engage in oral sex by physical force or the threat of it is a first-degree criminal sexual act. There's no legal time limit for bringing charges.
New York detectives already investigated Weinstein once, the 2015 probe when an Italian model said the studio executive grabbed her breasts and groped her. Detectives set up a sting where they recorded a conversation between the woman and Weinstein while he tried to persuade her to come into his hotel room.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. said prosecutors decided there wasn't enough evidence to prosecute the case.
"I, like they, were very disturbed by the contents of the tape," Vance said. "But at the end of the day we operate in a courtroom of law, not the court of public opinion. And our sex crime prosecutors made a determination that this was not going to be a provable case."
Police investigated that allegation as a case of forcible touching, a misdemeanour with a two-year time limit for bringing charges. The statute of limitations has since expired.
On Thursday evening, Amazon Studios announced its chief, Roy Price, had been placed on leave after a producer detailed crude remarks she said he made to her after a 2015 Comic-Con event in San Diego.
Isa Hackett, the daughter of author Philip K. Dick and a producer on the Amazon series Man in the High Castle, told the Hollywood Reporter that Price persisted with sexual remarks toward her throughout the evening.
She said she complained to Amazon executives, who launched an investigation but never informed her of the results. She told the Reporter she never saw Price again at an Amazon event promoting the show or another series based on her father's work.
Hours earlier, the Eastern branch of the Writers Guild of America pledged to take action to prevent future abuse, noting that "sexual harassment and assault have long been hallmarks of the entertainment industry."