UPDATED 4:04 p.m. ET: Per Vulture, Rose McGowan referenced her screaming match with the still unidentified trans woman at Barnes & Noble last night during a talk with Ronan Farrow at the 92Y in New York City on Thursday. She suggested that Harvey Weinstein could have her killed, although a few audience members treated the suggestion as a joke. Then, she implied that the heckler at her book reading event was a "paid plant" who had gone there to rile her up.
“I know my life, and I know my reality,” McGowan told Farrow. “I know that people like me get killed. [Weinstein has] been after me for a lot longer. There was a plant last night. I had my first book reading, something I’d only seen in movies, by the way. There was definitely a paid plant that started screaming at me, yelling at me.” Farrow asked McGowan how she knew this. “Because I saw — I had people watching the exchange, how it handed off,” McGowan answered.
On Friday, McGowan took to Twitter to announce that she has canceled all future public appearances. Thursday night had been the first night of her memoir's book tour. She reiterated that the trans woman at the book reading was a "paid actor" and also accused "everyone from [her] publicists, to assistants, managers and every person sitting in their chairs" of being weak and complicit. Finally, she demanded an apology from the manager of the Union Square Barnes & Noble store in Manhattan.
You can read the original story below.
Rose McGowan, one of the actresses that the most publicly accused Harvey Weinstein of rape, has been especially vocal in recent months about the ongoing reckoning that the industry is having with its twisted relationship to power and sex. Not that she wasn’t always this unfiltered and fierce against Hollywood sexism, but with a new E! Docuseries and memoir, Brave, released just this month, she has been serving up her unapologetic self more and more in pop culture.
On Thursday, just before McGowan filmed an appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, she had an appearance at the Union Square Barnes & Nobles in Manhattan, where she was scheduled to read some passages from her book and answer questions from an audience. However, as Variety reports, the event was soon derailed as a trans woman began heckling McGowan about her contributions (or lack thereof) to the trans community, which only served to rile McGowan up and resulted in a series of long, expletive-filled monologues about women and the Hollywood industry and how trans women people fit into it.
McGowan reportedly began her Barnes & Noble appearance by rapping some lines from “Rake It Up” by Yo Gotti, which had been “stuck in [her] head all day.” She then dove into some previously submitted questions about what scared her the most about speaking out against the abuses of power in Hollywood and how she had the courage to do so. Soon enough, though, she was interrupted by a trans woman who made specific mention to something McGowan said on a July 2017 appearance on RuPaul’s podcast, “What’s the Tee?,” back then.
According to listeners, McGowan spoke negatively about trans women who believe they know what it's like to truly be a woman and the experiences that come with it. She also allegedly implied that she was offended that trans women had never asked her about her experience as a woman.
The trans woman demanded an answer from McGowan. “I have a suggestion. Talk about what you said on RuPaul. Trans women are dying and you said that we, as trans women, are not like regular women,” the heckler said. “We get raped more often. We go through domestic violence more often.”
The woman became increasingly upset, and McGowan eventually interrupted her.
“Hold on. 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,” McGowan said.
“You do nothing for them. Trans women are in men’s prisons. And what have you done for them?” she asked.
“What have you done for women?” McGowan said.
Soon, the interaction turned rowdy, with the two women loudly speaking over each other. The trans woman was eventually escorted out of the bookstore as she shouted "white cis feminism!" McGowan, however, was not done.
“Don’t label me, sister,” McGowan said, launching into an angry monologue. “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. I do not subscribe to your rules. I do not subscribe to your language. You will not put labels on me or anybody. Step the fuck back. 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, Goddammit.”
The crowd, which was there to listen to McGowan, began speaking up and sending words of encouragement to McGowan. When one woman told her not to worry, she shot back:
“I’m not worried; I’m fucking mad with the lies,” she said. “I’m mad that you put shit on me because I have a fucking vagina and I’m white or I’m black or I’m yellow or I’m purple. Fuck off. All of us want to say it. I just do.”
“And you can label this thing as a breakdown. That, motherfuckers, is a breakdown. Maybe not for me, but for you. I might have information you want. I might know shit that you don’t. So fucking shut up. Please systemically. For once. In the world. You know what I’m talking about. Just tell the God damned truth. Stop boxing everybody into shit. I didn’t agree to your cis fucking world. Ok? Fuck off.”
McGowan then returned to the issue of trans women. She seemed to be implying that while women and trans women do face the same sorts of issues, trans women might have slightly easier experiences since there have been institutionalized ways of discriminating against and breaking down women for many years.
“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. 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.”
As Vulture notes, her book press tour has only just begun, and her confrontational response and controversial attitude to the ideas in question could make tense situations like this more likely.