While promoting her new book, Brave, in New York City, Rose McGowan got into a verbal altercation with a trans woman over a question about transphobic comments she made in the past. The incident has led McGowan to cancel all upcoming public appearances. "I have given enough," she tweeted about the cancellation. "I have given beauty, in return I was VERBALLY ASSAULTED for two full minutes."
McGowan claims that the person she fought with was "an actor paid to verbally assault a woman who has been terrorized by your system. And no one in that room did anything." Earlier this year, The New Yorker reported that McGowan, who accused Harvey Weinstein of rape, was being tracked by private investigators hired by the producer. (Weinstein has denied any accusations of nonconsensual sex.)
McGowan, who aimed her tweets at Barnes and Noble, where this appearance was held, accused those in attendance — "everyone from my publicists, assistants, managers and every person sitting in their chairs frozen by their weakness" — of complicity. "The truth is you all failed me," she wrote. "Again. And again. And again."
On McGowan's Wednesday night appearance at the Union Square Barnes and Noble, she took time, after reading passages from Brave, to answer questions from the audience. One of those questions was about comments McGowan made on RuPaul’s “What’s the Tee?” podcast in July 2017.
“I have a suggestion," activist Andi Dier, the founder of Transgender Advocates for Revolution, said. "Talk about what you said on RuPaul. Trans women are dying and you said that we, as trans women, are not like regular women. We get raped more often. We go through domestic violence more often. There was a trans woman killed here a few blocks [away]. I have been followed home...”
Before Dier finished her statement, McGowan interrupted to say, "Hold on. So am I. We are the same. My point was, we are the same. There’s an entire show called ID channel, a network, dedicated to women getting abused, murdered, sexualized, violated, and you’re a part of that, too, sister. It’s the same."
The back-and-forth than got more heated with Dier asking what McGowan has done for trans women. "What have you done for women?” McGowan responded. That led to a shouting match that ended with Dier being escorted out of the bookstore shouting "white cis feminism," according to The Huffington Post.
"Shut up, you're so boring," McGowan said, before saying “Don’t label me, sister. Don’t put your labels on me. Don’t you fucking do that. Do not put your labels on me. I don’t come from your planet. Leave me alone." She then added, "What I do for the fucking world and you should be fucking grateful. Shut the fuck up. Get off my back. What have you done? I know what I’ve done, God dammit.”
McGowan then told the crowd that they could label this moment a "breakdown," but for her it was about telling the truth. "Just tell the God damned truth," she said. "Stop boxing everybody into shit. I didn’t agree to your cis fucking world. Ok? Fuck off.”
That thought led her back to the question about her comments on RuPaul's podcast, in which she attempted to explain herself.
"Trans women are women and what I’ve been trying to say is that it’s the same. The stats are not that dissimilar. When you break it down, it is a much smaller population. There’s not a network here devoted to your fucking death," she said, "There’s not advertisers advertising tampons with a camera lovingly going up a girl’s body as she’s being lovingly raped and strangled. Piss off. And until you can collect that fucking check, back up. My name is Rose McGowan and I am obviously fucking brave.”
In an interview with Them, Dier wondered if that bravery was at the cost of other women. "Cis people keep pretending trans women are a third gender or something. To be frank — that's getting us killed," Dier said. "Trans issues are women’s issues. If we're not fighting for trans women, we are not fighting for women."
Before canceling her tour, McGowan was also criticized for her appearance on the Late Show With Stephen Colbert, which Variety called "bizarre." She defended herself, tweeting, “I just have a different personality than you. I don’t follow protocol. And I will talk about WHAT I WANT."
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