Wednesday, Feb. 24 marked the one-year anniversary that Weinstein was found guilty by a Manhattan jury of two of five charges relating to sexual assaults. Many would argue McGowan, a former actress, has become one of the loudest sexual assault activists in the industry, most recently standing behind New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s former aide, Lindsey Boylan, who accused him of sexual harassment and assault earlier this week. Cuomo’s press secretary has denied the claims.
“I was sick,” McGowan told Fox News in an interview on Feb. 24, a day she now calls an “anniversary of freedom.”
“All of the time I had to fight in battle and these monsters, what they were doing to me behind the scenes and to others, people don’t know what that was like, what we lived with…the stress,” McGowan recalled of the years leading up to Weinstein’s conviction and the #MeToo movement it spearheaded.
The former “Charmed” actress previously accused Weinstein of rape during the Sundance Film Festival in 1997, which his attorney denied. She also filed a suit in Oct. 2019 accusing Weinstein and attorneys Lisa Bloom and Davoid Boies of working to discredit McGowan to undermine her claims. Nine out of 11 claims in the suit were dismissed in December.
Despite pushback, McGowan says knowing Weinstein’s locked up has provided her a sense of relief she didn’t think was possible for decades.
“I feel great,” McGowan now says. “This is the first time, especially since 1997, I have a free existence without this giant, obese monster on my back. I had to live with him shadowing me, terrorizing me, whether it be paying off journalists to trash me for years or hiring spies to infiltrate my life and steal my book.”
“I can honestly say that while the case still goes on, I am largely free,” McGowan continued. “I’m shocked I’m still alive because people like me don’t live.”
McGowan said she sent a message to his fellow Weinstein accuser, Jessica Mann, who testified at the Manhattan trial, on Wednesday.
“I texted her and I said, ‘Happy anniversary. You did it, we did it. One year with that monster off our backs. Thank you,'” McGowan recalled.
The TV alum said she received kind words back from Mann, who championed McGowan for helping her overcome difficulties of going public with her claims.
“I said she ‘took it on the chin but in a different way. But it’s a brutal chin punch that goes on and on.’ And then I wrote, ‘We are free,’ because we are,” McGowan said.
McGowan has notoriously dubbed Hollywood a “cult” over the last year and has since moved to Mexico where she says she’s found a sliver of freedom she didn’t get in the U.S.
“Tonight I’m going to go and sit on the beach in the stars and almost full moon. This has been the best year of my life,” McGowan shared.
As for her choice to continue to speak out and support women coming forward with claims of abuse against notable figures — she previously backed Tara Reade, who accused then-Sen. Joe Biden of sexual asssault — McGowan said it’s a part of the “cultural reset forward.”
“For me, it wasn’t the “Me Too movement.” It was a cultural reset. When you clean your closet out you make a big mess, then it gets clean,” she said. “It’s kind of like that for society. We needed that, and for me, for years society had a lot of awful thoughts about me and I had some thoughts for them. I think we’ve all come out the better for it.”
Weinstein continues to face rape, forcible oral copulation and other charges in California after five women said they were attacked during events in Los Angeles and Beverly Hills from 2004 to 2013. He is awaiting extradition for trial due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.