Rose McGowan and Harvey Weinstein: The True Story

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "Catch and Kill" by Ronan Farrow. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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What is the connection between Rose McGowan and Harvey Weinstein? Why was she hesitant to divulge what happened during their encounter at the 1997 Sundance Film Festival?

In her interview with the investigative reporter Ronan Farrow, Rose McGowan accused Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault. However, she was unsure about going public with her story.

Keep reading for more about what happened between Rose McGowan and Harvey Weinstein and why she was reluctant to let the world know.

Rose McGowan & Harvey Weinstein

In her interview with the investigative reporter Ronan Farrow, Rose McGowan was direct, pointed, and specific in naming Harvey Weinstein as the man who had sexually assaulted her. In a subsequent meeting with Farrow, McGowan detailed exactly what transpired between her and Weinstein. 

During the 1997 Sundance Film Festival, Harvey Weinstein invited Rose McGowan to meet him at a restaurant. In the last minute, however, Weinstein changed the location of the meeting to his hotel suite. It was at this meeting (which McGowan quickly realized was not a professional meeting at all) that Weinstein raped her. 

Disturbingly, when McGowan shared her story with a criminal attorney, she was told that she was not a credible accuser because she had done sex scenes in her film work. McGowan was advised not to press charges. This attorney instead brokered a deal with Weinstein whereby the actress was paid $100,000 in exchange for signing an NDA which forbade her to talk about her ordeal and which prohibited her from ever suing him. If she were to speak about her experience and violate this NDA, McGowan would open herself up to a financially ruinous breach of contract lawsuit from Weinstein. 

Like the ruse he used to lure McGowan into his hotel room, the under-the-table payment and gag order was a tried-and-true Weinstein tactic, a standard part of his decades of sexual predation.

After sharing her story with investigative reporter Ronan Farrow, however, McGowan was still unsure about going on camera to name him—she had tried to go public with this story before, she claimed, but the media had refused to take her claims seriously. She also knew that Weinstein had the power to retaliate. In fact, she believed that he already had retaliated against her, using his vast influence to derail her once-promising acting career and blackball her from mainstream Hollywood productions. Farrow also knew that NBC’s legal team would have to vet the story and give final approval before it went to air, as McGowan would be violating her NDA by naming Weinstein on camera.

Rose McGowan and Harvey Weinstein: The True Story

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Like what you just read? Read the rest of the world's best book summary and analysis of Ronan Farrow's "Catch and Kill" at Shortform .

Here's what you'll find in our full Catch and Kill summary :

  • How Ronan Farrow uncovered rampant sexual abuse and assault by Harvey Weinstein
  • How NBC tried to intimidate Farrow into killing the Weinstein story
  • How the media and legal systems let Weinstein's abuse continue for decades

Darya Sinusoid

Darya’s love for reading started with fantasy novels (The LOTR trilogy is still her all-time-favorite). Growing up, however, she found herself transitioning to non-fiction, psychological, and self-help books. She has a degree in Psychology and a deep passion for the subject. She likes reading research-informed books that distill the workings of the human brain/mind/consciousness and thinking of ways to apply the insights to her own life. Some of her favorites include Thinking, Fast and Slow, How We Decide, and The Wisdom of the Enneagram.

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