Alexander Payne Denies Rose McGowan Underage Allegation: Guest Column

Alexander Payne
Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

In a recent social media post, Rose McGowan wrote that filmmaker Alexander Payne engaged in a sexual act with her while she was 15 years old. Payne today responds with a firm denial in this guest column. He will have no further comment on the matter, he said.


Rose McGowan and I have always had very cordial interactions, and I have admired her commitment to activism and her voice in an important, historic movement. However, what she has said about me in recent social media posts is simply untrue.

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.

She claims that I showed her a “soft-core porn movie” I had directed for Showtime “under a different name.” This would have been impossible, 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.

Rose and I did meet years later, in 1991, during my first directing job, when she auditioned for a comic short I was making for a Playboy Channel series. Although she did not get the part, she left a note for me at the casting desk asking that I call her. I had no reason to question how old she was, since the role she read for required an actor who was of age. We later went out on a couple of dates and remained on friendly terms for years.

While I cannot allow false statements about events twenty-nine years ago to go uncorrected, I will continue to wish only the best for Rose.

Alexander Payne
September 4, 2020

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