Rose McGowan doesn’t plan be in the courtroom when Harvey Weinstein’s criminal trial starts next week: One of Weinstein’s most prominent accusers, McGowan says the trauma the fallen Hollywood mogul caused her is so great she couldn’t bear the pain of it.
But Rosanna Arquette, another accuser, has already made plans to be there when it starts, to lend support to the women who have accused Weinstein of sexual assault and plan to testify against him.
“I feel very protective. I want this to be OK,” Arquette said in an interview. “I think either way, whatever happens, it’s still going to be hard for the people that came forward, in terms of retaliation. He’s all about that.”
Both McGowan and Arquette spoke in separate interviews on Friday about the upcoming trial of Weinstein, the once all-powerful Hollywood producer whose world came crashing down in 2017 when parallel investigations by The New York Times and The New Yorker documented alleged sexual misconduct by Weinstein against dozens of women. From Oscar-winning stars to aspiring actresses to associates, claims of sexual harassment, assault and even rape were levelled against Weinstein.
Prosecutors in New York have filed five criminal charges against Weinstein, including two counts of predatory sexual assault that carry a mandatory life sentence.
Weinstein, 67, has denied allegations of non-consensual sex and his lawyer has promised a vigorous defence. Jury selection is expected to begin on Monday.
McGowan has accused Weinstein of raping her over 20 years ago and destroying her career; Weinstein has denied her claims.
Since the allegations against Weinstein sparked the #MeToo movement, McGowan has emerged as a vigorous advocate for sexual assault victims. Though she told the AP in 2018 she would be at any trial, McGowan now says while she might be outside the courtroom when it starts, she couldn’t imagine being on the inside.
“I also have to focus on what’s healthy mentally for me and seeing him is extremely difficult,” she said. “You know, I had body flashbacks for years when I would see and receive photos of him or if I saw him in person, I would lean over and throw up in a trash can and my body remembered, you know, things that my brain wanted to silence.”
McGowan said seeing Weinstein face criminal charges “will speak volumes to people in the world that have been hurt. And I hope it gets justice for the women involved. Personally, I have justice. My justice might just look different than that.”
She added that if Weinstein is found guilty of even one charge, “it’s a victory, but it’s also a victory to still be standing after all this damn time. It’s also a victory to spread the news to other survivors, that is not our shame. It’s also a victory to basically have him as the face of rape for all time.”
Arquette has accused Weinstein of derailing her career after she resisted her advances, and was one of first women to come forward and tell her story in 2017 (Weinstein has also denied retaliating against women who refused to have sex with him). She told she never thought she would see the day that he would face a trial for his alleged crimes.
Arquette was emotional as she talked about his upcoming trial and what it represented.
“This is a man that is a real predator,” she said. “He’s destroyed many women’s lives. ... We need to keep the focus on this crime, and this case with Harvey Weinstein is huge because so many people are looking at it.”
Arquette is close friends with one of the women expected to testify against Weinstein: actress Annabella Sciorra, who has accused Weinstein of raping her more than two decades ago. Although Weinstein is not charged with a crime connected with that allegation, prosecutors are hoping to establish a pattern of behaviour with her testimony.
Arquette is hoping the testimony of Sciorra and others will lead to an eventual conviction against Weinstein. She said Sciorra’s life was “shattered by this experience for many years.”
“The justice system works in a way ... people can get out of criminal behaviour,” Arquette said. “And we’re praying that that doesn’t happen and that there’s justice is served.”