By Maureen Lee Lenker
September 04, 2020 at 03:46 PM EDT
Alexander Payne, Rose McGowan
Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images; Nick England/WireImage

In response to Alexander Payne firmly denying her accusations of sexual misconduct against him, Rose McGowan told Variety: "F— him and his lies."

McGowan, who is a key figure in the #MeToo movement and was one of the first to publicly accuse Harvey Weinstein of sexual abuse, tweeted her allegations against Payne back in August, accusing the Oscar-winning writer and director of playing her a soft-core porn movie and leaving her on a street corner when she was 15.

On Friday, Payne, 59, responded to the allegations in a guest column written for Deadline. "Rose McGowan and I have always had very cordial interactions, and I have admired her commitment to activism and her voice in an important, historic movement," his statement begins. "However, what she has said about me in recent social media posts is simply untrue."

Payne goes on to say he was a film student at UCLA during the time of McGowan's allegations and had never worked professionally as a director at that point. He also asserts that he has never worked for Showtime and that he has never worked as a director under any name but his own.

"Rose is mistaken in saying we met when she was fifteen, in the late 1980s. I was a full-time film student at UCLA from 1984 until 1990, and I know that our paths never crossed," he writes. "She claims that I showed her a 'soft-core porn movie' I had directed for Showtime 'under a different name.' This would have been impossible, since I had never directed anything professionally, lurid or otherwise. I have also never worked for Showtime or directed under any name other than my own."

He clarifies his recollection of his and McGowan's first meeting, writing, "Rose and I did meet years later, in 1991, during my first directing job, when she auditioned for a comic short I was making for a Playboy Channel series. Although she did not get the part, she left a note for me at the casting desk asking that I call her. I had no reason to question how old she was, since the role she read for required an actor who was of age. We later went out on a couple of dates and remained on friendly terms for years."

He concludes by wishing her the best: "While I cannot allow false statements about events twenty-nine years ago to go uncorrected, I will continue to wish only the best for Rose."

McGowan, 46, tweeted in August, "Alexander Payne. You sat me down & played a soft-core porn movie you directed for Showtime under a different name. I still remember your apartment in Silverlake. You are very well-endowed. You left me on a street corner afterward. I was 15."

In a subsequent tweet featuring an old headshot of herself, McGowan wrote, "I just want an acknowledgment and an apology. I do not want to destroy. This was me at 15."

However, in light of his denial, her feelings have changed on the matter. In her statement to Variety, McGowan added, "I told Payne to acknowledge and apologize, he has not. I said I didn’t want to destroy, now I do. Why do these men always lie? I will now make it a mission to expose him. I am not the only one."

McGowan also noted that she wants "people that have watched his films to know his morals are in your mind, his thoughts have become yours." The actress points to "his 'comedy' 'Election,' where the middle-aged teacher that fantasizes having sex with his young student, Reese Witherspoon. I want people to know Hollywood perpetrators show you who they are, their skewed view normalized. Men like Predator Payne, who profited from working Weinstein, must be stopped from not only assaulting, but must also be prevented from infecting the masses with their propaganda."

EW could not reach McGowan for further comment, while the Deadline article specified that Payne's denial will be his only remarks on the matter.

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