Robert Rodriguez and Rose McGowan dated from 2006 to 2009 and the director knew about Harvey Weinstein allegedly sexually assaulting the actress back in 1997. Rodriguez deliberately cast McGowan as a "bad ass" character in Grindhouse as a way to make Weinstein "pay" for what he had done. As a result, Robert Rodriguez claims that the studio buried the release as retaliation for casting Rose McGowan after she had been "blacklisted" by Harvey Weinstein. Grindhouse is part of a double feature co-helmed by Quentin Tarantino and distributed by Bob Weinstein's Dimension Films.
In a statement to Variety, Robert Rodriguez recounted how he met Rose McGowan and how she told him of her alleged experience with Weinstein and ultimately what he tried to do about it. When Rodriguez first heard McGowan's story at a Cannes party in 2005, he was shocked, but later believed every word after an uncomfortable visit with Harvey Weinstein at the party. The director had this to say.
"I called Harvey over to our table, and as soon as he got close enough to see that I was sitting with Rose, his face dropped and went ghostly white. I said, 'Hey Harvey, this is Rose McGowan. I think she's amazing and really talented and I'm going to cast her in my next movie.' Harvey then dribbled all over himself in the most over the top performance I'd ever seen as he gushed, 'Oh she's wonderful, oh she's amazing, oh she's fantastic, oh she's so talented... You two should definitely work together.' And then he skittered off. I knew right then that every word Rose told me was true, you could see it all over his face."
It is for this reason that Rodriguez believes that Grindhouse was buried by Dimension. Rodriguez's portion of the double feature, Planet Terror, seemed to get less attention than Quentin Tarantino's portion. Rodriguez explains.
"To our horror, Harvey buried our movie anyway, and because we did not want to risk getting sued, we never spoke publicly about the matter. It would have been much easier on both of us if we could have just revealed why we were doing it."
In Planet Terror, Rose McGowan plays Cherry Darling, a go-go dancer who quits the business in hopes of finding something better. Following her resignation, she gets sucked into a fight against the undead, which eventually sees the character replacing her severed leg with a fully-functioning machine gun and becoming a leader in a post-apocalyptic world. McGowan's performance was widely praised as was the entire idea of having such a strong female as the lead character. Robert Rodriguez says he made it clear to Rose McGowan that she'd never be blacklisted from his movies, and that he "wanted her to have a starring role in a big movie to take her off the blacklist, and the best part is that we would have Harvey's new Weinstein Company pay for the whole damn thing." He later said that the idea would "literally make (Weinstein) pay."
Rose McGowan is reported to have reached a whooping $100,000-dollar settlement after the alleged sexual assault from Harvey Weinstein, so it appears that the former Hollywood mogul paid McGowan twice. More than 50 women have come forward to share their similar stories about Weinstein since McGowan first came forward, accusing Weinstein of raping her in 1997. Robert Rodriguez finished his lengthy statement by saying that he kept his mouth shut over the years out of respect to McGowan and concluded by expressing support for all of the women that have come forward.
Rose McGowan recently spoke out in public for the first time since the allegations against Harvey Weinstein became public at The Women's Convention in Detroit. McGowan had this to say.
"I have been silenced for 20 years. I have been slut-shamed. I have been harassed. I've 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 that cannot stand and it will not stand."
McGowan ended with a passionate call to arms declaring, "Pussies grab back. Women grab back. We speak! We yell. We march. We are here. We will not go away. My name is Rose McGowan and I am brave and I am you." You can read Robert Rodriguez's entire lengthy statement via Variety.