After actress Rose McGowan publicly accused him of grooming and raping her at the age of 15, two-time Academy Award-winning director Alexander Payne (“Sideways”) has issued a strong denial.
This past August, the actress and #MeToo activist accused Payne of showing her a soft-core porn at the age of 15, which he used as a grooming mechanism.
“Alexander Payne. You sat me down & played a soft-core porn movie you directed for Showtime under a different name. I still remember your apartment in Silverlake. You are very well-endowed. You left me on a street corner afterwards. I was 15,” she tweeted.
Alexander Payne. You sat me down & played a soft-core porn movie you directed for Showtime under a different name. I still remember your apartment in Silverlake. You are very well-endowed. You left me on a street corner afterwards. I was 15. pic.twitter.com/mVqiN4S9NW
— Rose McGowan (@rosemcgowan) August 17, 2020
McGowan then followed up the allegation with a lengthy Instagram post in which she said that she initially thought her “sexual experience” with Payne at age 15 was just a sexual experience.
“For years I had thought a man I had sexual relations with was a a sexual experience I had. I now know I was groomed. I auditioned for him at 15. After my experience with him, I quit acting entirely until I was ‘discovered’ at 21,” she alleged. “When that happened, I was like, f**k it, let’s do this. I even tweeted a congratulations on his Oscar win in 2012, that’s how deep in the Cult of Hollywood I was.”
“It wasn’t until three weeks after the Weinstein story broke that I re-evaluated the situation,” she continued. “I feel badly about throwing a bomb into someone’s life and career, but I guess that’s social conditioning. I’m more sad than angry. Sad for 15 year-old me. Sad for the adult me that still thought it was a choice I made. Grooming is real.”
In a guest op-ed for Deadline, Payne said that he could not have done what Rose McGowan alleged because he was a full-time film student at UCLA at the time and never directed a soft-core porn for Showtime.
“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,” he began. “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,” he continued. “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.”
Payne added that he first met Rose McGowan in 1991 when he was directing a comic short for a Playboy Channel series, after which they went on a couple of dates. She would have been 17 or 18 at the time.
“Although she did not get the part, she left a note for me at the casting desk asking that I call her,” he said. “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,” he concluded.