In Weinstein saga, Rose McGowan emerges as powerful voice
LOS ANGELES — Woman all over the world have joined a call to boycott Twitter over the platform’s treatment of actress Rose McGowan.
It started as a reaction to McGowan’s temporary suspension from Twitter earlier this week and quickly escalated to the number one global trend on the social media platform on Friday as #WomenBoycottTwitter.
The actress, known for the television series “Charmed” and the movie “Scream,” is on a growing list of woman that have accused Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein of rape, abuse and other forms of misconduct and has been tweeting about the scandal.
After long referencing a past incident with Weinstein, McGowan on Thursday for the first time said it outright: “HW raped me,” the actress wrote.
The Hollywood Reporter said McGowan confirmed it was Weinstein she was referring to; her representative did not respond to a message seeking comment.
Last year, the actress said that she had been raped by a “studio head.” The New Yorker expose 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 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.
“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.”
Amazon did not return a message seeking comment.
The same day a spokeswoman for the disgraced movie mogul said, “Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein.”
McGowan instagrammed the notification she received from the company, adding: “TWITTER HAS SUSPENDED ME. THERE ARE POWERFUL FORCES AT WORK. BE MY VOICE.”
The social network responded with a tweet, clarifying that McGowan’s account was temporarily locked because one of her Tweets included a private phone number,” which they said violated their Terms of Service.
“She had been tweeting powerfully about sexual harassment and bias in Hollywood, and her own experience as a survivor of sexual assault, and she spoke for many women who felt they couldn’t,” said Heidi N. Moore, a New York-based business editor, who was among the first to popularize the boycott.
“Twitter seems to be sending a message that they’d rather see us silenced than take real, meaningful action to fix a problem that’s plagued Twitter since the beginning … when Rose McGowan was temporarily blocked by Twitter, that amplified the perception of silencing victims of various forms of abuse. The idea behind the boycott is to show Twitter that silence they seem to prefer, so we wanted to show them what it looks like.”
Moore suggested the boycott last 24 hours, and advised users to completely log out of the popular social media platform starting at midnight Eastern Daylight Time. She added that if folks want to keep tweeting they should amplify women’s work and voices instead.
McGowan joined in on the boycott, tweeting: “At midnight we RISE.”
Celebrities, like Alyssa Milano, Chrissy Teigen, Kathy Griffin and Anna Paquin also tweeted their support, as well as media organizations IndieWire and Refinery29.
Twitter could not be reached for comment.
Male twitter users, like comedian Michael Ian Black and actor Mark Ruffalo, joined in on the movement as well, but there were also female users who questioned the validity of volunteering a silence.
“Some visible users have left the platform, but it hasn’t seemed to make Twitter sit up and take notice. This was a different idea for trying to get that message across,” said Kelly Ellis, a software engineer from San Francisco, who created the hashtag. “I hope to see some meaningful changes come out of it, including better tools for dealing with dogpile-style harassment.”
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 the Hollywood film producer of inappropriate conduct.
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.”
New York Police Department spokesman Peter Donald 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.
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 expose, a former actress, Lucia Evans, said 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 misdemeanor with a two-year time limit for bringing charges. The statute of limitations has since expired.
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.”
Hachette Book Group, one of the country’s top publishers, announced it has pulled the plug on its Weinstein Books imprint.