Alexander Payne Claims Rose McGowan Allegations Are "Simply Untrue"
The incident happened when she was just 15.
Update September 4, 2020: Director Alexander Payne responded to actor Rose McGowan's allegations in a guest column for Deadline. Payne insists that the allegations are "false statements" and "simply untrue." In the column, he wrote that "Rose is mistaken in saying we met when she was fifteen, in the late 1980s. I was a full-time film student at UCLA from 1984 until 1990, and I know that our paths never crossed." He acknowledged that the two did meet and briefly dated. According to him, McGowan auditioned for a video that he was directing for the Playboy Channel and that they "later went out on a couple of dates and remained on friendly terms for years."
Payne also addressed McGowan’s claim (which was reported by Variety) that he showed her soft-core pornography that he "had directed for Showtime 'under a different name.'" Payne said that couldn't be true, because he's never worked for Showtime. "This would have been impossible," he wrote. "Since I had never directed anything professionally, lurid or otherwise. I have also never worked for Showtime or directed under any name other than my own."
McGowan responded to Variety, saying, "Fuck him and his lies is my comment."
Previously: Rose McGowan is accusing Alexander Payne of sexual misconduct, Variety reports. The actor, who is one of the most vocal faces of the #MeToo movement, is one of the first to come forward with accusations against Harvey Weinstein back in 2017. In a Tweet posted today, McGowan explained that she had an encounter with Payne when she was just 15 years old. At the time Payne would have been in his late 20s. In a subsequent tweet, she explained that she wasn't setting out to "destroy" him and that all she wanted was an apology.
"Alexander Payne," McGowan wrote. "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."
"I just want an acknowledgement [sic] and an apology. I do not want to destroy," she added in a follow-up tweet that included a photo of herself at age 15.
In a WhatsApp conversation with Variety, McGowan explained her tweets in more detail:
"I feel very badly for my 15 year-old self. I had auditioned for him. He took me home afterwards. I quit acting after that and then was discovered by Ilene Staple (a friend of Gregg Araki) 6 years later. It wasn't until after the HW [Harvey Weinstein] stories came out that I reframed the Payne of it all. I had for years looked at it as a sexual encounter, not understanding what it really was. It was a grooming situation. The first time I'd been shown a straight porn. He left me on the corner in front of Café Tropical in Silverlake to find my own way home. I feel extreme emotional exhaustion today."
When asked about why she decided to come forward now, McGowan said, "It just came over me. It was time."
Payne has won two Academy Awards for his directorial work, which includes Election, Sideways, and The Descendants. Though McGowan has never named Payne outright in the past, Variety adds that she alluded to the situation during a conversation with Ronan Farrow in 2018 at the 92Y.
"He took me home, after he met me, and showed me a soft-porn movie he'd made for Showtime, under a different name, of course," she said. "And then he had sex with me. And then he left me next to Tropical in Silver Lake, standing on a street corner."
Payne has not responded to the accusations, according to Variety.
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, call the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673) or visit online.rainn.org.