Alexander Payne denies raping Rose McGowan when she was 15

Filmmaker Alexander Payne has denied allegations that he 'groomed' and sexually assaulted actress Rose McGowan when she was just 15 years old. 

Instead, Payne insists that he and McGowan first crossed paths when she was 18 years old and that they went out on a couple of dates after she failed an audition for his first directorial gig. 

The acclaimed director broke his silence on Friday - three weeks after McGowan accused him of ‘grooming’ her and having sex with her when she was underage and he was 28 years old.

Payne released a statement to Deadline in which denies the allegations.

‘Rose is mistaken in saying we met when she was fifteen, in the late 1980s,’ Payne wrote.

‘I was a full-time film student at UCLA from 1984 until 1990, and I know that our paths never crossed.’

Alexander Payne

Rose McGowan

Alexander Payne (left), 59, the Oscar-winning director, has denied claims by Rose McGowan (right), 46, that he raped the actress when she was just 15 years old

In a social media post from last month, McGowan named Payne as the ‘well-endowed’ man who allegedly 'sat me down and played a soft-core porn movie' when she was 15 - an incident she first described in 2018 without identifying Payne.

'If you are out there trying to have sex with an underage minor, you are committing a crime, even if the minor doesn't know it,' McGowan wrote in the August 18 'bomb of truth' post on Instagram.

TEXT OF STATEMENT BY ALEXANDER PAYNE 

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. 

However, what she has said about me in recent social media posts is simply untrue.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Alexander Payne

September 4, 2020  

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‘I was attracted to him, so I thought it was on me, but that's not correct. I was not an adult.'

But Payne countered on Friday that McGowan has her facts wrong.

‘She claims that I showed her a “soft-core porn movie” I had directed for Showtime “under a different name”,’ Payne writes.

‘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.’

Payne then recalled the first time he and McGowan met and then briefly dated, though he notes that by this time she was of legal age.

He writes: ‘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.’

Payne continued: ‘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.’

When asked to respond to Payne's denial on Friday, McGowan told Variety: 'F*** him and his lies is my comment.' 

Before Friday, Payne, who co-wrote and directed the critically acclaimed films 'Citizen Ruth,' 'Election,' 'About Schmidt,' 'Sideways' and 'The Descendants', had yet to comment on the allegations. 

McGowan - a pioneer of the #MeToo movement who was one of the first women to come forward against Harvey Weinstein - said the alleged ordeal led her to quit acting before she returned to after being 'discovered' at age 21.   

McGowan told Variety 'it was time' to name Payne after telling Ronan Farrow in 2018 she had been the victim of a man who 'picked me up when I was 15 years old'.

McGowan had made her first allegation on Twitter on August 17, asking for an 'acknowledgement and an apology' from the director. 

'Alexander Payne. You sat me down and played a soft-core porn movie you directed for Showtime under a different name,' she said. 

'I still remember your apartment in Silverlake. You are very well-endowed. You left me on a street corner afterwards. I was 15.'

McGowan made her allegations against Payne in a second 'bomb of truth' Instagram post on August 18, having earlier named him on Twitter

McGowan made her allegations against Payne in a second 'bomb of truth' Instagram post on August 18, having earlier

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