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Harvey Weinstein denies Rose McGowan’s accusation of rape, citing Ben Affleck email

McGowan is the third Weinstein accuser to be singled out in a public denial.

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Constance Grady is a senior correspondent on the Culture team for Vox, where since 2016 she has covered books, publishing, gender, celebrity analysis, and theater.

Harvey Weinstein has issued a statement via his lawyer denying Rose McGowan’s claim that he raped her in 1997, as described in McGowan’s new memoir, Brave.

The statement was posted by journalist Yashar Ali on Twitter and includes quotes from both McGowan’s former manager Jill Messick and Ben Affleck. McGowan has said she told them both about the alleged rape after it occurred.

Contra what the statement claims, this is not the first time Weinstein has publicly criticized one of his accusers. He has issued strong denials against the accusations of both Lupita Nyong’o and Salma Hayek. This is, however, the first time he’s publicly criticized one of the white women who’ve accused him.

Here, Weinstein’s denial hinges on statements from two people that McGowan has accused of being complicit in the cover-up of her alleged rape. In Brave, McGowan writes that immediately after Weinstein raped her, she stumbled out of his hotel and was taken to a photo op to promote a movie. “I am shaking and my eyes fill with tears,” she writes; “I say where I’ve just come from, and my costar says, ‘Goddamn it, I told him to stop doing that.’” On Twitter, McGowan has identified the co-star in question as Ben Affleck.

Later in the book, McGowan writes that she called her manager to tell her about the alleged rape. “It was so fucked up,” she writes, “she counseled me to see it as something that would help my career in the long run.”

Per Weinstein’s statement, Affleck told Weinstein via email that he had no knowledge of the alleged rape, and Messick claims that McGowan described her encounter with Weinstein as consensual at the time.

McGowan is one of dozens of women who have stepped forward to accuse Weinstein of rape, sexual assault, and sexual harassment. Her claims were thoroughly researched by investigative reporters at both the New Yorker and the New York Times, and a documented paper trail shows Weinstein paying her a settlement of $100,000 in 1997. Another documented paper trail shows Weinstein hiring ex-Israeli military spies to infiltrate her life, apparently to prevent her from going public with her accusations against him.

Meanwhile, Weinstein’s statement claims he has “a wealth of evidence that would demonstrate the patent falsity of these claims.” So far, none of that alleged evidence has been made public.

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