On Monday, a Manhattan jury convicted Harvey Weinstein of sex crimes, and the Hollywood producer was remanded to police custody, where he awaits a sentence that could total more than twenty-five years in prison. Weinstein was found guilty of rape in the third degree against Jessica Mann, a former aspiring actress, and a criminal sex act in the first degree against Miriam Haley (formerly known as Mimi Haleyi), a former “Project Runway” production assistant, who claims that he forcibly performed oral sex on her. Weinstein will be sentenced on March 11th. He also awaits trial on separate charges in Los Angeles. Paul Thompson, the Los Angeles deputy district attorney, told me, “We are definitely proceeding.”
For many of the more than ninety women who have publicly accused Weinstein of sexual harassment or assault, the New York trial comes after years of frustration. For decades, Weinstein had been trailed by allegations of misconduct. In 2015, the Manhattan District Attorney, Cyrus Vance, dropped an effort to charge him, under pressure from Weinstein’s attorneys. One of the first women to speak publicly about Weinstein was the actress Rose McGowan, who alleges that the producer assaulted her in 1997, during the Sundance Film Festival. In 2016, she tweeted that she had been raped by an unnamed studio head. Several months later, she was among the first accusers to go on the record for my reporting. Her story also appears in my book, “.” Hours after the jury announced its verdict, McGowan agreed to be interviewed for The New Yorker and a forthcoming episode of . During our conversation, which has been edited for length and clarity, we discussed the impact of the decision on McGowan and other victims, and also on the #MeToo movement.
First of all, I often begin our conversations this way: How are you, Rose?
And I always, I think, answer, “Well, it’s another day in the twilight zone.” Which it is, but today it’s interesting. I’ve had to have this hardness that’s not native to me, to do what I had to do to cause the cultural reset that I wanted, to get the results I wanted—not like we’re talking about with the case today.
2020欧洲杯体育投注网But what I feel connected with today by this verdict and what’s happened—I feel like the soft girl that I was before I walked into that room. The other day, someone asked, “What do you hope for?” I looked at them and I said, “I don’t. I don’t have—I don’t hope.” It’s not that I’m not optimistic. I just—it’s not part of my lexicon. Hope. What’s the point? What’s the goal? Survival—that’s my goal. But today I have this tiny feeling of, like, this little chrysalis opening in my heart and my chest right now that’s, like, I think it feels like that girl that walked in that room to be raped by Weinstein, you know, at ten in the morning.
Just going back to today. What has it been like for you? You said “twilight zone.” So what does that mean?
Today, today feels . . . I haven’t exhaled in so long.
And I know that every woman who has been affected by him and everybody who’s ever been affected by this period had this kind of collected breath held, right? And this is not a referendum on #MeToo, you know, which Tarana created as a language tool, right? “This happened to me, too”—that’s what it is.
Tarana Burke, the activist, who has been using this term for years.
2020欧洲杯体育投注网Right. Of course, my thing was always quite different. I wanted a cultural reset. And I wanted it to happen a lot faster than what people were doing. And I also wanted to take out some trash.
And does this verdict bring you closer to any of those goals?
Well, the cultural reset already happened. That’s happened. I think this is like there’s two separate things going on for me. There’s the bigger, more macro, above-it-all goal that I had personally, as an activist and a fighter. And then, for the one who was hurt by him and has had to deal with seeing his face, like all his other victims.
This person was compulsive—is compulsive—you know. It’s pretty amazing to have one less rapist on the street, though. Especially a super rapist, like, head rapist in charge. Like, “I know I’m gonna be the Oscar winner of rapists. That’s what I’m going to be.”
You know better than most people how immovable the status quo can seem sometimes. So I can imagine that this was not necessarily the outcome you were expecting.
No. I was honestly shocked. And I’m still quite shocked, pleasantly, of course, because the other alternative is misery.
To see women sitting across from and accusing a man who was so insulated from accountability for so long.
2020欧洲杯体育投注网It’s mind-boggling the kind of pathos and the level of dedication to rape that that man had. I mean, wow. That’s like, Wow, you’re really taking a hobby seriously. Actually, it was almost like the movies were the hobby, and this was, like, you know, it was like a rape factory.
So you looked at your phone this morning. You braced for the worst. And then, when you saw what had happened, what went through your mind?
Honestly, joy. And then I thought, I wonder if he’s gonna hire a hit man to kill me? That was my other thought. And then I thought, Should I have coffee this morning?
I think it’s a rejection, in some ways, of Donna Rotunno, the lawyer—I mean, that narrative.
Donna Rotunno, the attorney for Weinstein who said that she’d never put herself in the position to be sexually assaulted and who has made all these statements sort of inflected with the language of the alt-right, men’s-rights type of movement.
It’s a dog whistle. It’s the same thing that an alt-right person does about race or about Jews. That’s what she’s doing about women. And how’s that working out for you today, bitch?
You often found yourself telling things to the culture that, I think, to use a phrase you gave me, the culture wasn’t ready to hear.
2020欧洲杯体育投注网I don’t think they’re ready. I don’t think anyone’s ever ready. I think they didn’t want to, but you have to get to a point where you’re, like, “I don’t care. Take your medicine.”
“Yeah, sorry. People are getting raped, people are getting killed. Women are dying. Boys are getting molested. We don’t have time. I know you’re uncomfortable. And this might make you examine some icky feelings you have inside and maybe something you’ve done or heard about, or maybe it was you, you know.” But, I think, if society is walking around with a festering sore on its leg, and the only thing they do is pull their pant leg down farther, that’s a very sick society. And I just thought, What is activism? I could sit there and join an organization and, like, fight for women’s rights, or I could just take a big sword, cut off the head of power, and be, like, See? This is how it’s done.