Rose McGowan delivered a poignant speech at the Women’s Convention in Detroit, Michigan, on Friday. It was the actress’ first public appearance since accusing Harvey Weinstein of rape earlier in October.
Tarana Burke, who started the #MeToo hashtag 10 years ago, introduced McGowan as the actress “who screamed her #MeToo on the internet.”
“I have been silenced for 20 years. I have been slut-shamed. I have been harassed. I have been maligned and you know what? I’m just like you,” McGowan addressed the audience. “Because what happened to me behind the scenes happens to all of us in society and it cannot stand and it will not stand.”
In early October, McGowan’s Twitter account was temporarily suspended after she wrote about her past encounters with Weinstein. She subsequently directed her attention to Instagram, where she told fans she had been temporarily locked out of her Twitter account and that “there are powerful forces at work.” McGowan included a snapshot of a message from Twitter explaining that her account would be reinstated once she deleted the tweets that violated Twitter rules.
“I came to be the voice for all of us who’ve been told we are nothing,” she said Friday. “For all of us who have been looked down upon. For all of us who have been grabbed by the motherfucking pussy, no more. Name it. Shame it. Call it out. Join me. Join all of us as we amplify each other’s voices.”
The actress further pointed out that part of the problem is that the alleged assault and harassment has been seen as an accepted norm in the industry for far too long, and each incident has been seen as “an isolated thing” rather than an epidemic.
“It is the messaging system for your mind. It is the mirror you are given to look into. This is what you are as a woman, this is what you are as a man, this is what you are as a boy, girl, gay, straight, transgender but it’s all told through 96 percent males in the Directors Guild of America. … So we are given one view and I know the men that are behind that view and they should not be in your mind and they should not be in mine. It’s time to clean house.”
The battle to reclaim agency within Hollywood has just begun, she continued. “The scarlet letter is theirs, it is not ours … We are pure, we are strong, we are brave and we will fight.”