“I scare because I care – that’s a famous tagline from Monsters Inc. That is a summary of what I do,” Rose McGowan told a mobbed ballroom of reporters at TCA where she came Tuesday afternoon to talk about her upcoming E! docuseries Citizen Rose.
“My father said I was born with my fist up,” she said proudly, when asked how she felt about being perhaps the most pugnacious in the cascade of voices outing various media men with claims of sexual harassment, abuse, and rape in the past few months.
“It’s not important for me to be seen as anything. This is a long time coming,” McGowan, among the first of producer Harvey Weinstein’s accusers, said composedly on stage, flanked by Jonathan Murray, whose Bunim/Murray Productions is producing the docu-series, and showrunner Andrea Mertz.
“Do you understand what I have been through for 20 years? My being here is a miracle,” she told TV critics. “It’s not an accident that I’m sitting here and I earned it.”
Citizen Rose, she said, is “not just a show about women. It’s about humanity and freeing your mind and looking at things differently.”
“I want to be like Gertrude Stein and have a conversation with the world.”
McGowan, maybe the loudest of the #MeToo movement’s voices, told TV critics she is having to sell her house to pay legal bills “fighting off the monster.”
“That’s what I’m facing,” she said.
McGowan is set to star in and produce the five-part Citizen Rose which the network will air as a two-hour documentary special on Tuesday, January 30 followed by four episodes in the spring.
McGowan took the opportunity to again criticize media’s role in the industry scandal, saying she’s been “painted as crazy,” which is what a lot of people in your job have done to me for years, and they were paid to do it.” She takes satisfaction in watching media come to the realization “this person I thought was crazy and weird” has “something coming out of her mouth that might make sense.”
She said she has been disappointed in much of the coverage of the movement which she again stressed is entirely separate from the #TimesUp push of which she has been critical. McGowan called hypocritical Meryl Streep’s plan to wear black at trophy ceremonies to show unity with women who have been sexually assaulted and abused; Streep issued a statement saying she is on the same side as McGowan “standing in defiance of the same implacable foe.”
On Tuesday, McGowan blasted press reports of possible “backlash” against women who have come forward with their stories of sexual abuse. “Don’t create something that’s not there,” she scolded.
One critic asked if she was uncomfortable working with E!, given that the network was challenged Sunday on the Golden Globe Awards red carpet by Debra Messing for not pay female on-air talent same as men, citing recently exited Catt Sadler.
“That came about after I had done my deal,” McGowan said.
“I will say, let me hang out a while, maybe things will change…That is systemic, and you can call it out against E!” but it’s everywhere, she said, adding, “I really like the people at E!.”
During her Q&A panel, a reporter asked McGowan if organizers of Sundance Film Festival, where she and other women have said they were sexually attacked or harassed over the years, had approached her about making it “a less dangerous place for women.” McGowan shot back: “You’ve got 96% male directors in the DGA. Fix that and you’ll fix the film festival.”
The New York Times reported in October of 2017 that McGowan was one of at least eight women with whom Weinstein had settled in past decades. McGowan has alleged the producer raped her, and said Amazon Studios dropped a project she was working on there when she alerted the network chief about him and urged them not to get into business with him.
Asked if she had been called as a witness yet in any Harvey Weinstein criminal case, McGowan said, “No, we’re not there yet.”
Before she took the stage, E! played a video message from McGowan:
Hey, Rose McGowan here. Thank you for participating in the TCA’s. I am proud to present the teaser for ‘Citizen Rose’ and remind you there is a person behind the name. So please be respectful and understand this is a very hard and traumatic thing. And I appreciate no mentions of the name that we all know, or anything rude or combative please. I will happily answer your questions if they are respectful. Peace.