In tonight’s two-hour pilot of E!’s event series Citizen Rose (9 p.m. ET on E!), actor, artist and activist Rose McGowan stares straight into the camera lens, daring the world to continue letting her story fall on deaf ears. After being one of the first women to come forward with sexual assault allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, McGowan has largely become the face of the #MeToo movement.
Carrying the burden of an alleged rape by Weinstein for more than 20 years, McGowan has been shamed, silenced and largely ignored for two decades; the resulting pent-up anger, hurt, fear and resilience comes through in every frame of the new docu-series. Following McGowan over the course of 2017, the cameras are there to see Rose revisit her childhood, which included being born into the cult Children of God, to meeting with other sexual assault survivors and speaking on women’s rights rallies.
While McGowan holds back from sharing details of her alleged assault by Weinstein and leaves out her ex Robert Rodriguez, who reportedly knew about the assault and continued to work with Weinstein (details reported from McGowan’s new book Brave, which is available today), she does speak in depth about the paranoia caused by Weinstein’s hiring of spies to investigate the actress, a tactic of the producer’s that has now become public knowledge.
Though his name is omitted from the docu-series, Weinstein’s presence is still visceral in Citizen Rose, a mirroring of the suffocating feeling his celebrated career has had on McGowan since he allegedly assaulted her in 1997.
Intimate and revealing, often moving and at times even funny, with McGowan’s tenacious personality shining through in even her most vulnerable moments, Citizen Rose is a must see for anyone looking for answers on how to make the world a kinder, safer, and better place.
Here are just a few of the heartbreaking , illuminating and sometimes uplifting times Rose lets us into her life in the two hour premiere:
ON HER ALLEGED ASSAULT BY HARVEY WEINSTEIN
McGowan opens the doc by recounting the events leading up to her alleged assault by Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. While acting in her second film, McGowan was sent to a meeting with the producer at a restaurant. When the waiter instructed McGowan to meet Weinstein in his room where he was on a conference call, she turned to the MTV cameras that were following her for a special and said “I think my life is finally getting easier.”
ON BEING BORN INTO THE CHURCH OF GOD CULT
“The cult I was born into, Church of God, I would look at the women worshipping men and I couldn’t understand why.”
ON HER FAMILY
Rose says that she didn’t hear from her mother for days after the Harvey Weinstein story broke, noting that it was triggering for her mother. As for her father, he died nine years earlier and was a leader in the cult and called himself God with the little g. When the cult introduced the practice of men having sex with children, Rose’s father took her family and left the cult.
ON THE MONSTER/WEINSTEIN
Refusing to speak Weinstein’s name, Rose instead refers to him as the ‘monster.’ “Seeing his face every day is triggering. I don’t like saying his name, the monster that is. Doesn’t deserve it. Doesn’t deserve the humanity.”
ON HOW ART HAS BEEN HER SAVIOUR
“Art is something that’s saved me my entire life. The thing that’s healed me the most. It’s how I express myself, it’s how I see myself and how I see the world. I’ve been telling my story through my book, my art, the music, all of it. They all talk to each other and they’re all just to start the conversation. So, to those who say I haven’t spoken, I just say you haven’t listened.”
ON HER TIME STARRING ON CHARMED
“I was so lost, I was so invisible, nobody could see who I was. I couldn’t see who I was.”
McGowan started the #RoseArmy not based on her name, but on the strength of survivors who can grow through the cracks of society and be beautiful with their thorns.
ON A SPY FROM WEINSTEIN
A woman hired by Weinstein posed as a #RoseArmy activist to spy on McGowan and attempt to steal her autobiography. In November 2017, Ronan Farrow, who appears in the first episode of Citizen Rose, wrote an article in The New Yorker confirming McGowan’s story that Weinstein and his team hired spies to stop women from coming forward with sexual assault allegations.
ON THE GOLDEN GLOBES
Leading up to the 2018 Golden Globes, McGowan tweeted that she was disappointed that she and other women who spoke out against Weinstein were not invited to the award show. “The thing about the black dresses is that I’m sure a lot of these women are well meaning, but it’s a PR machine stunt overall, because the people behind it are the agents that sent us women, not me, but others, into the lion’s den to be eaten and consumed. It’s not just dresses, it’s a lie.”
We’re ready for more.
Citizen Rose premieres with a two-hour special, Tuesday, Jan. 30 at 9 p.m. ET on E!, followed by four episodes airing in Spring 2018.