Rose McGowan sued Harvey Weinstein, his lawyers, and a private intelligence company on Wednesday for their coordinated efforts to silence her rape allegations against the movie mogul.
The actress says Weinstein raped her at the Sundance Film Festival in 1997. (She received a $100,000 settlement payment from him that year.) When articles in The New York Times and The New Yorker exposed Weinstein as a serial sexual predator in late 2017, McGowan was vocal in her support of his accusers.
Even before Jodi Kantor, Megan Twohey, and Ronan Farrow published their bombshell investigations, rumors that McGowan was writing a memoir and that the book would detail her accusations against Weinstein swirled in Hollywood. In late 2016, Weinstein and his lawyers began their assault on the actress.
His attorney Lisa Bloom, once lauded for crusading against predatory men like Weinstein, wrote a damning memo to the producer that December outlining her plan to smear McGowan. “I feel equipped to help you against the Roses of the world, because I have represented so many of them,” she said. “We can place an article re her becoming increasingly unglued, so that when someone Googles her this is what pops up and she’s discredited.” After the Weinstein allegations broke, Bloom initially defended him, calling the producer “an old dinosaur learning new ways,” but less than 24 hours later, she resigned and apologized for working for him.
Continued reporting by Farrow, Kantor, and Twohey — who jointly won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for public service — has only deepened the severity of the allegations against Weinstein. Kantor and Twohey’s book She Said is a behind-the-scenes account of their investigation, and it peels back the systemic power structures that enabled the producer to prey on vulnerable women for decades. Farrow’s book Catch and Kill details the lengths Weinstein and his associates attempted to go in their cover-up.
Black Cube, a private investigative firm hired by Weinstein’s lawyer David Boies with ties to Israeli intelligence, sent an undercover agent to befriend McGowan by posing as a London-based executive interested in hiring the actress for speaking engagements on women’s rights. She gained McGowan’s trust and eventually stole her unpublished manuscript, which the agent handed over to Weinstein. Black Cube also hired a freelance journalist to interview McGowan with the goal of extracting information about her book, according to the lawsuit. Brave, McGowan’s biography, was published in January 2018, and the actress describes her assault in detail in the book.
McGowan’s lawsuit, filed in LA’s Federal District Court, basis some of its factual allegations on Farrow, Twohey, and Kantor’s reporting, including the tactics the actress says Weinstein employed to silence her and “ensure that Ms. McGowan’s story never saw the light of day, and — if it did — that no one would believe her.”
The suit accuses Weinstein, his lawyers, and Black Cube of racketeering, fraud, and inflicting emotional distress. McGowan says they waged a “diabolical and illegal” assault against her that diminished her career prospects and quality of life. “Her book sales suffered; her expenses mounted; her job opportunities vanished; and her emotional health cratered,” the lawsuit reads. “She has experienced trauma and depression from defendants’ actions, and the deep betrayal will have lifelong effects.”
Weinstein’s legal army responded predictably. “Rose McGowan will be shown to be what she is: a publicity seeker looking for money,” said Phyllis Kupferstein, one of Weinstein’s lawyers. Lisa Bloom’s attorney Eric George called McGowan’s claims against his client “inexcusable.”
The former movie mogul was arrested and criminally charged with two counts of sexual assault in 2018. Weinstein pleaded not guilty and is slated to stand trial in New York City this January.