Rose McGowan has claimed that Alexander Payne exhibited sexually inappropriate behavior towards her when she was 15 and he was in his twenties

By Maria Pasquini
September 04, 2020 04:22 PM
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Rose McGowan and Alexander Payne
Craig Barritt/Getty Images; Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images

Oscar-winning writer and director Alexander Payne has denied Rose McGowan’s allegations of sexual misconduct.

Last month, the Charmed actress tweeted about an alleged encounter with Payne, claiming that he exhibited sexually inappropriate behavior towards her when she was 15 and he was in his twenties.

"Alexander Payne. You sat me down & played a soft-core porn movie you directed for Showtime under a different name," she wrote. "You left me on a street corner afterwards. I was 15."

"I just want an acknowledgement [sic] and an apology. I do not want to destroy," she added in a subsequent message.

In a guest column for Deadline published on Friday, Payne, whose film credits include Sideways and Election, denied McGowan’s allegations.

“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. However, what she has said about me in recent social media posts is simply untrue,” he wrote.

“Rose is mistaken in saying we met when she was fifteen, in the late 1980s,” he wrote. “I was a full-time film student at UCLA from 1984 until 1990, and I know that our paths never crossed.” Payne also denied ever showing McGown the “soft-core porn movie,” going on to note that he has “never worked for Showtime or directed under any name other than my own.”

Payne went on to claim that the pair met for the first time in 1991, when she auditioned for his first directing job, a “comic short” for Playboy Channel.

“Although she did not get the part, she left a note for me at the casting desk asking that I call her. 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,” he wrote.

“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 added.

When asked for comment regarding the column, McGowan, 46, told Variety, “F— him and his lies is my comment.”

“I told Payne to acknowledge and apologize, he has not. I said I didn’t want to destroy, now I do. Why do these men always lie? I will now make it a mission to expose him. I am not the only one,” she said.

PEOPLE has also reached out to the actress for further comment.

Rose McGowan

McGowan's claim against Payne appears to match up with a description of an encounter that she alluded to during a February 2018 conversation with Ronan Farrow.

During the chat, McGowan said that a powerful man in Hollywood had subjected her to inappropriate sexual behavior, according to New York Magazine's The Cut.

"You told me that, even long before the Harvey Weinstein incident, you recounted to me that there was a statutory rape by a prominent man in Hollywood," Farrow said to McGowan at the time.

"He took me home, after he met me, and showed me a soft-porn movie he’d made for Showtime, under a different name, of course… And then he had sex with me," she recalled, without naming the man. "And then he left me next to Tropical in Silver Lake, standing on a street corner."

McGowan was one of the first women to publicly accuse Harvey Weinstein of sexual abuse and became a prominent voice of the #MeToo movement. The disgraced movie producer, who was convicted on two separate rape and sexual assault charges in February, has denied McGowan's allegation.