Rose McGowan On Lisa Bloom Memo In New Book, 'She Said'
MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:
A new book published earlier this week called "She Said" by the New York Times reporter Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey describes how the duo broke the story of former Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein's alleged assaults on women over the course of the years. But even more than that, the book describes how those accusers were undermined, discredited and silenced over the years. Rose McGowan was one of the first to go public with allegations against Harvey Weinstein. And the new book describes the tactics used against her, including a copy of a memo to Weinstein from his then-attorney Lisa Bloom in which she shared her strategy for portraying Rose McGowan as unhinged.
One of the bullet points in the memo reads, "we can place an article regarding her becoming increasingly unglued so that when someone Googles her, this is what pops up, and she's discredited," unquote. We spoke with Rose McGowan when Harvey Weinstein was arrested on charges of rape last year. So we've reached out to Rose McGowan once again to talk about these latest revelations. Rose McGowan, thank you so much for talking with us, once again. I know it can't be easy.
ROSE MCGOWAN: Thank you for having me. No, it's not easy. But it's - it just feels like, at least in the past and even continuing forward, a conversation that needs to be had.
MARTIN: I have to ask you what it was like for you when you saw this memo in black and white because you had described for years a sense that you had been targeted, that there was this conspiracy to discredit you and that you were being - gaslighted is the word that you used. So what was it like when you saw this in print, that basically confirmed that what you had believed was true was in fact true?
MCGOWAN: Well, it's really interesting. The word exoneration came to mind, but that's not quite right. I mean, you care if people don't believe you, but it wasn't my job to make people believe me. It was just my job to survive this and push a movement forward. But what I saw - that disgusting document that - you know, her email outlining how they were going to terrorize me. It was just as if, yes, this is exactly what's been happening to me.
MARTIN: And, of course, Lisa Bloom jumps out at many people because she had a reputation as a civil rights lawyer who represented women who had been assaulted or harassed. And she described that work in this memo to Harvey Weinstein. She said, quote, "I feel equipped to help you against the Roses of the world because I have represented so many of them," unquote. What do you make of that?
MCGOWAN: It's vile. It's just - it's kind of the mark of a psychopath, and it's so cold. And you know what? Yeah, the Roses of this world - we get pushed around. And we get hurt, and we get disbelieved. And to have a woman involved in it let alone a woman who purports to be all about protecting women and protecting people who get abused by power is - it's egregious. It's disgusting. It's despicable, but it's also fitting for I think who she really is.
MARTIN: Well, she says - she has said in subsequent statements several things. No. 1, she says she made a mistake. No. 2, she says she did not understand the scope of the allegations against him, including assaults.
MCGOWAN: Well, I think she's a liar.
MARTIN: Why do you say that?
MCGOWAN: Because there's so much proof to the contrary. Besides the fact that it was an open secret not just in Hollywood but in the Democratic Party and in other, you know, halls of power where that man moved, she would have to be incredibly blind and deaf to not know about this. And that is - it's - it begs belief.
MARTIN: Lisa Bloom is currently representing three women who've accused Jeffrey Epstein, who's the former financier who took his own life earlier. They've accused him of sexual assault. And Bloom has said that a person should be judged by their lifetime of work not quote, "by their one worst mistake," unquote.
MCGOWAN: I disagree with her. I think everything counts, and what she did wasn't - it wasn't just an open-and-shut thing. It was a long sustained campaign of terror. It was a conspiracy, you know? I've been asked if I'm paranoid, and I said, absolutely not. I'm not paranoid. It's all true.
MARTIN: Well, this this whole effort, though, to portray you as unglued and unhinged...
MCGOWAN: And they did a good job.
MARTIN: That's the question I was going to ask you. Has that followed you? Have you - do you still feel that you are laboring under the image of you that was painted?
MCGOWAN: Absolutely, you know? Not to the people on the street, the people who pass me by and give me a fist up or thank me or, you know, otherwise offer encouragement but a lot in the media and definitely in Hollywood, you know, where I lived and worked for so long. They did a really, really good job. And people want to believe that stuff, you know? It makes them feel better about something horrible that's happened, you know? They can tuck themselves in at night, rest assured that it only happens to bad people, but that's not the case. And, also, for me, you know, yeah, you search my name, and horrible things come up, immediately. And, unfortunately, a lot of people believe it.
MARTIN: I take it that you feel that there should be a consequence for Lisa Bloom in the way she conducted herself toward you.
MCGOWAN: I do. I think she should be disbarred. I mean, I think there's sanctions or things one can do, you know, through the bar. She went above and beyond. She went above and beyond, and it rose to the level of conspiracy, which is not something - and theft, which is not something that I think a normal defense attorney - but she wasn't even really hired to defend him. She wasn't representing him. She was hired purely to go after the victims.
MARTIN: Since I know it's only been a couple days since the book came out, and all of this is kind of laid out in graphic detail. What reaction have you gotten in recent days now that this has all been laid out for the rest of the world to see?
MCGOWAN: I still have no support. I've spoken to Megan and Jodi - Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor - and congratulated them on writing a phenomenal piece of journalism, really. But beyond them, nobody. It's something about me. I don't know what it is. There's - you know, I just - I thought, like, if I was Reese Witherspoon, Lisa Bloom would never have treated me that way. There's something about how he portrayed me for so many years in the media that - they just all feel like it's OK to keep doing that.
And, you know what? Maybe I am a little different. Maybe I am unique. Maybe I am more of a fighter than most. But that doesn't mean that my life should be destroyed, and I should be stolen from and I should be lied about and defamed and harassed and targeted. It would honestly have been enough to drive most people crazy, and they almost achieved their goal.
MARTIN: We're speaking with actor Rose McGowan. Her memoir is called "Brave," and she was kind enough to speak to us from our bureau in New York. Rose McGowan, thank you so much for speaking with us, once again. As I said, I know it cannot be easy.
MCGOWAN: Thank you, Michel, for your care. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.