Rose McGowan is comfortable with discomfort. She refuses to be labeled. And you know what? She doesn't care if that makes you like her or not.
McGowan's unapologetic nature was perhaps the only thing to remain consistent throughout the short-lived publicity tour for her new memoir, "Brave." Each public appearance a bit more bizarre than the previous, it became clear that the actress, who emerged as a leader in the movement to stamp out sexual misconduct in Hollywood, was going to do things her way.
Her manner of speaking out veers from the traditional, poised approach taken by, for example, those leading the Time's Up initiative, and the ensuing backlash appeared to be too much to handle. McGowan tweeted on Friday that she had "given enough" and canceled the tour.
"Brave" deals in part with McGowan's quick and tumultuous rise to stardom, rocked by heightened public attention and sexualization. Known for starring in a number of indie films and the WB's "Charmed," her public persona shifted dramatically in October when she accused Harvey Weinstein of raping her in a hotel room during the 1997 Sundance Film Festival. Her book, dedicated to "all of us survivors," refers to Weinstein as "my monster." (Weinstein's lawyer recently denied the allegations by cited emails from Ben Affleck and McGowan's former manager.)
McGowan drew the ire of social media following an incident on Wednesday night deemed "transphobic" by many Twitter users. During a book tour stop at a Barnes and Noble in New York, Variety reported, a trans woman in the audience stood up to confront McGowan on comments she made on RuPaul's podcast "What's the Tee?" in July.
"Talk about what you said on RuPaul," the woman said. "Trans women are dying and you said that we, as trans women, are not like regular women. We get raped more often. We go through domestic violence more often. There was a trans woman killed here a few blocks [away]."
After McGowan responded that she and the questioner "are the same," the audience member retorted that the actress-turned-activist does nothing for trans women. The exchange escalated into a shouting match, ending with McGowan yelling into the microphone as the audience member, taken away by security, chanted "white cis feminism."
"Shut the f- up," McGowan said. "Get off my back. What have you done? I know what I've done, god dammit. . . . I'm not crying, I'm f---ing mad with the lies. I'm mad that you put s--- on me because I have a f---ing vagina and I'm white or I'm black or I'm yellow or I'm purple."
She ended the rant with, "I didn't agree to your cis f---ing world. OK? F--- off."
The crowd cheered McGowan on, which further irritated Twitter users:
McGowan cited the incident as the reason for abruptly canceling her tour, claiming the trans woman was an actor "paid to verbally assault a woman who has been terrorized by your system." (It's unclear to whom the "your" refers.) She went so far as to call out "my publicists. . .assistants, managers and every person sitting in their chairs" on their "complicity," apparently exhibited by their failure to respond to the chaos in a desirable fashion.