In an interview with PBS News Hour broadcast Friday, Saturday Night Live star Alec Baldwin claimed rumblings about Harvey Weinstein allegedly raping Rose McGowan has been discussed in Hollywood circles for years.
“I didn’t know anything,” Baldwin said when questioned about what he knew of Weinstein. “But I know that when you talked about Harvey Weinstein in the business, for example, for decades, you knew that he was highly intrusive in the process of making films. You know, his nickname was Harvey Scissorhands and he was very intrusive in the path of the directors who worked for him. Number two, you knew that he was a very intense guy and very bullying guy, and was shouting and screaming at people and exhorting them when he didn’t get his way. And, last but not least, you heard the rumor that he raped Rose McGowan. You heard that over and over. We have heard that for decades, and nothing was done.”
Last month, McGowan alleged via Twitter that “HW raped me.” The former Hollywood mogul denied “any allegations of non-consensual sex” in a statement issued through his representative, Sallie Hofmeister.
Speaking to PBS News Hour, Baldwin noted the initial New York Times report revealed Weinstein had paid a settlement to McGowan after an alleged incident at the Sundance Film Festival in 1997.
“It was for Rose McGowan to prosecute that case,” Baldwin said. “I don’t think you and I are working at a job, and we vet everybody we work for in terms of, not just sexual crimes, racism. Do I sit there and say to myself, I want to have a forensic psychiatrist come and examine the entire board of Warner Bros., and I will never take another paycheck from Warner Bros. until everybody on that board of directors that runs that company have been vetted that they’re not racist, sexist, homophobic, you name it, I need to have a report on that?”
The actor questioned where to draw the line. “Where this thing with Harvey Weinstein and Rose McGowan came along was, I had no idea, until now, that she had settled the case,” he said.
Watch the full interview on PBS.
McGowan responded to Baldwin’s interview on Twitter by writing, “Told you everyone knew. No one cared. Men ran the show. Women toed the line. No more. #ROSEARMY.” She added in a response to another user, “It has been a truly lonely road.”
Asia Argento, an Italian actress and filmmaker who accused Weinstein of sexual assault, also took issue with Baldwin’s words. “Hey @AlecBaldwin,” she tweeted on Saturday, “you’re either a complete moron or providing cover for your pals and saving your own rep. Maybe all three.”
In the wake of the backlash online, Baldwin announced he was leaving Twitter for the forseeable future. “It is w some degree of sadness that I will suspend posting on this a TWITTER account for a period of and in the current climate,” Baldwin wrote in a series of tweets on Saturday.
The New York Police Department is currently gathering evidence against Weinstein after detectives interviewed actress Paz de la Huerta, who claims Weinstein raped her twice in 2010. (Weinstein has continued to deny allegations of non-consensual sex.) Los Angeles police are also probing for “lewd conduct” stemming from an incident in 2015, while a similar investigation is underway in Beverly Hills.