In his efforts to discredit Rose McGowan’s claims that he raped and silenced her with a non-disclosure agreement in 1997, Harvey Weinstein has hit back in a rather roundabout way — with old emails sent to Ben Affleck.
McGowan, who was one of the first to come forward against Weinstein in an October exposé in the New York Times, wrote about the alleged rape in her new memoir BRAVE. In it, McGowan claims Weinstein invited her to his hotel room in Park City during the Sundance Film Festival that year. She had been told it would be a meeting about her career, but when she arrived, as many of the Weinstein stories have gone, he forcibly pulled her into a room with a jacuzzi, removed her clothes and performed oral sex on her while masturbating.
McGowan goes on to claim that after the incident, she was scheduled to take photos at the festival with Affleck, her co-star in the Weinstein-produced film Phantoms. When he saw her shaking and she told him where she had been, he responded, “Goddamn it. I told him to stop doing that!” The obvious implication being that Affleck was aware of Weinstein’s abusive behaviour.
After these excerpts came to light this week, Weinstein, through his lawyer Ben Brafman, released emails from Affleck and McGowan’s former manager Jill Messick that suggest Affleck never actually knew what allegedly happened between McGowan and Weinstein.
In an email Affleck reportedly sent Weinstein on July 26, months before the allegations against the producer began to pour in, Affleck wrote, “She never told me nor did I ever infer that she was attacked by anyone. Any accounts to the contrary are false. I have no knowledge about anything Rose did or claimed to have done.”
McGowan had tweeted that Affleck said the exact words she details in her book back in October when Affleck released a statement saying the Weinstein allegations made him “sick.” And when he was asked that same month on the Today show if he had been aware of Weinstein’s history, Affleck had said, “I knew he was sleazy and kind of a bully, but unfortunately that wasn’t that uncommon. I was brand new to Hollywood … I was 24 years old, I never made a movie and didn’t know much of anything really.” He added, at that time, “I believe Rose, I support her, I really like and admire her tenacity and wish her the best.”
The email from Messick to Weinstein reads: “When we met up the following day, she hesitantly told me of her own accord that during the meeting that night before she had gotten into a hot tub with Mr. Weinstein. She was very clear about the fact that getting into that hot tub was something that she did consensually and that in hindsight it was also something that she regretted having done.”
In the NYT exposé, McGowan had said Messick had held her after she told her what happened, but in the months after the incident, she didn’t feel supported by her management team. After Messick stopped working with McGowan, she accepted a job at Weinstein’s Miramax production company.
Anne Woodward, Messick’s assistant at the time of the alleged assault, told the NYT that no one supported McGowan’s efforts to fight Weinstein’s insistence on settling, saying, “It was an emotionally shocking way to see a woman being treated. That’s what stuck with me.”
In response to Weinstein releasing these alleged emails, McGowan tweeted Tuesday, “F–k you you f–king douche bag loser from hell. You will burn. You will be an empty suit coffin. You go fall off the planet you f–k.”