Rose McGowan returned to the spotlight Wednesday after taking a break from the press after a Barnes and Noble book tour stop turned into a shouting match.
On her way to face a judge for a felony cocaine charge in Virginia, one of the #MeToo movement's loudest voices chatted with The Hollywood Reporter in a wide-ranging interview covering everything from her thoughts on the Bill Cosby verdict to her decision to leave Los Angeles.
Of course, no conversation with McGowan can avoid "The Monster" completely, as she refers to disgraced film mogul Harvey Weinstein. McGowan was one of the first women to speak out against Weinstein, alleging that he raped her and then derailed her career as part of a vast cover-up effort. Weinstein has maintained his innocence against all allegations, saying in multiple statements that any sexual acts he was involved with were consensual.
The actress-turned-activist also opened up about her Golden Globes attack on Meryl Streep, the bizarre sex cult involving "Smallville" star Allison Mack, and why she pulled her first Weinstein interview from NBC before it eventually landed at The New York Times.
SHE PULLED NBC INTERVIEW BECAUSE OF MATT LAUER
"NBC took a lot of heat for killing the story, but I actually served Ronan [Farrow] with a cease and desist — two of them," McGowan admitted while citing allegations against Matt Lauer as the reason behind her decision. While she did speak about being sexually assaulted in a January 2017 on-camera interview, she did not name Weinstein, according to a witness.
"I did not want my rape spoken about over breakfast cereal on the 'Today' show. I'd heard about Matt Lauer. You can't tell me the people at the top of NBC aren't aware. Come on." Lauer was fired after allegations of sexual misconduct were brought against him by several NBC staffers dating back years. According to THR, sources close to the story indicate that McGowan did not bring up Lauer at the time the interview was being pulled.
"I was never going to let my story be on NBC, but I wanted to ensure that the Times would do it, and everybody before had folded. So I pitted [Farrow] against The New York Times. I understand how men work and how Hollywood works and how power works. People are going to be much more interested in going down the line with something if they know they're competing with somebody else."
When Hollywood actresses opted to wear black in a statement about the treatment of Women in Hollywood, ushering in the Time's Up initiative, McGowan criticized them, and particularly Meryl Streep. Streep has worked with Weinstein multiple times, but says she never experienced any sort of inappropriate behavior.
Streep responed to the attack in an open letter, penning, "It hurt to be attacked by Rose McGowan in banner headlines this weekend, but I want to let her know I did not know about Weinstein's crimes."
"It still makes me mad," McGowan said of Streep's position, refusing to believe she knew nothing. "If I was living next door to someone and I heard them beating up their kid every night, I wouldn't turn my TV up louder. I would be in there, doing every single thing I could to help that kid and get them out and get them a new life. But that's me, and I have to come to peace with the fact that not everybody's like that."
While the accusations against Bill Cosby preceded Harvey Weinstein's downfall and the #MeToo movement, the verdict in his trial was nevertheless watched very closely. "It felt like we'd won the Super Bowl of all Super Bowls," McGowan said of that guilty verdict that could send Cosby to prison for the rest of his life.
"When I saw those brave women crying and breaking down afterwards, I felt a sense of shame because I was both thrilled for them, but I was also jealous," McGowan said. Weinstein has not yet been arrested, despite the allegations against him.
"I hope I'm wrong when I say that I don't think he will go to prison," McGowan said of Weinstein. She has tried to understand that the legal process takes time if you want to have a properly built case that will result in the verdict she is seeking, but it can still be frustrating to have to wait; all the while knowing that Weinstein is free to live his life.
"People do have to gather evidence, and that takes time," McGownan acknowledged. "But if two women pointed somebody out that stole our purses, he'd be arrested. So how many women does it take to say he stole us? He stole our careers, stole our lives, stole our reputations. He stole how my family treats me, how men treat me, he stole all that."
Another crazy story that McGowan weighed in on is the recently exposed Nxivm cult that was allegedly indoctrinating young women as sex slaves. Former "Smallville" star was revealed to be second-in-command of the cult shortly after its leader was arrested.
"My take on [Nxivm] is that it's doing a very intense version of what a lot of people in Hollywood already do," said McGowan of the organization's treatment of women. "It's just a more intensified version, so we can point at it and be like, 'That's so wild.' I'm like, 'Yes, but what do you do?'"
That struggle with thinking about how the Hollywood machine continues to treat women, as well as the persistence of the Weinstein name in the media -- be it about the man or the company he built -- is part of the reason that McGowan has decided to leave Los Angeles ... without a plan.
And so she sold her house and simply left. "My house was my cord to Los Angeles," she explained. "It doesn't mean that I don't love it as a city, but it was a very unsafe place for me. I mean, people have come up to me on the street and said, 'Oh, did you get any good Weinstein scripts lately?' Just to see my reaction. It's really fucked up."
She made $2 million off the sale, which she said she plans to live off of for the next year or so. "I'll just roam," she said. After that, London and New York are admitted short-term places she might enjoy living, but McGowan said she'd ultimately like to settle in India, after a recent trip there.