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Rose McGowan on Her Media Coverage: ‘It’s Been a Lie, It’s Been Cruel’

TCA 2018: ”The narrative that’s been run by [journalists] about me for 20 years has been erroneous“

Rose McGowan called out writers and journalists on Tuesday, saying that the way she’s been written about in the media for years has been unfair and “cruel.”

“The narrative that’s been run by your peers a lot of them about me for 20 years has been erroneous,” McGowan said at the Television Critics Association press tour on Tuesday. “It’s been a lie. It’s been cruel.”

The actress, activist and director, who will star in her own E! docuseries “Citizen Rose” later this month, said that it’s been “very interesting” to see the way coverage of her in the media has changed over time, specifically after the recent revelations about Hollywood’s problems with sexual harassment and assault:

“It’s very interesting now that within four months … [journalists are saying,] ‘The person that I always thought was crazy and weird … There’s something coming out of their mouth that might make sense?'”

McGowan said she believes she’s been painted as “crazy” by the media because she’s a woman. She noted the differences between the reaction to her activism and the way AIDS activists in the ’90s are hailed as heroes for scaling the walls of the FDA.

“Imagine if that had been women scaling that wall,” McGowan told reporters. “Would we be having the same conversation? Or would they be painted as crazy? Which is what a lot of people in your job have done to me for years.”

But the media industry is learning the right lessons, McGowan said. “I’ve seen actually quite a bit of change already. I’ve seen quite a bit of the language I had been using for the last three years while I engaged very specifically with the media — sinking in.”

McGowan cautioned journalists to be more careful about the language they use and to avoid the tendency to report on activism solely through the lens of the backlash to it: “Don’t create something that’s not there. Let it be.”

“I’ve really seen a lot of reporters and writers stepping up, to tell you the truth,” she said. “And grappling in a new way with language.”

“[But] I wish we had better language,” she added. “‘Misconduct’ sounds tepid, at best.”

“Citizen Rose” will premiere Tuesday, Jan. 30 on E!