Not long before Rose McGowen went public with her sexual assault accusations against Harvey Weinstein, the actress claims she was offered $1 million to keep quiet ahead of the explosive New York Times report revealing a series of sexual assault allegations against him.
After McGowan was allegedly assaulted by Harvey Weinstein in 1997 while at Sundance Film Festival, they reached a settlement of $100,000; however, she learned this summer that it never included a confidentiality clause. According to Utah state law, Harvey Weinstein could still be prosecuted for the alleged rape. The actress-turned-activist hinted at speaking about her experience publicly before someone close to Weinstein contacted her through her lawyer, The New York Times reports. The unnamed person made her an offer: $1 million in exchange for signing a nondisclosure agreement.
"I had all these people I’m paying telling me to take it so that I could fund my art," McGowen recounted in an interview with The New York Times. In a counteroffer, she responded by asking for $6 million. "I figured I could probably have gotten him up to three," she continued. "But I was like — ew, gross, you’re disgusting, I don’t want your money, that would make me feel disgusting."
McGowen asked her lawyer to withdraw the counteroffer within a day of when The New York Times article, detailing the predatory nature of Weinstein's decades of alleged sexual harassment, assault, and aggression toward women, was set to be published. Since then, dozens of women have come forward. Weinstein's staff have asked to be released from their nondisclosure agreements to speak freely about their experiences.
One former employee who reported Weinstein for harassment, Zelda Perkins, said it best when she publicly broke her nondisclosure agreement. "Unless somebody does this there won’t be a debate about how egregious these agreements are and the amount of duress that victims are put under. My entire world fell in because I thought the law was there to protect those who abided by it. I discovered that it had nothing to do with right and wrong and everything to do with money and power," she told The New York Times claiming that the settlement process was so secretive that she was not even allowed to keep a copy of her NDA.
On Friday, McGowen was a featured speaker at the inaugural Women's Convention in Detroit. "I have been silenced for 20 years," she shared in a stirring speech. "I have been slut-shamed. I have been harassed. I have been maligned. And you know what? I'm just like you, because what happened to me behind the scenes happens to all of us in this society, and it cannot stand, and it will not stand."
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