Actress-turned-activist Rose McGowan took center stage Sunday in the California recall by endorsing Republican candidate Larry Elder and accusing Gov. Gavin Newsom’s wife of trying to suppress her sexual-assault allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.
Ms. McGowan, appearing with Mr. Elder in Los Angeles two days before the special election, said that Jennifer Siebel Newsom contacted her in 2017 on behalf of Mr. Weinstein’s law firm, Boies Schiller.
“When I finally got on the phone with Jennifer Siebel Newsom, for what I assumed was about movie projects, imagine my surprise when she says, ‘What can Boies Schiller do to make you happy?’ ” Ms. McGowan said at the press conference. “Again, I had no idea who that was, so I just said nothing, and hung up on her.”
A spokesperson for Mrs. Newsom denied the allegations, which Ms. McGowan first levied Thursday on YouTube’s “The Rubin Report,” calling them a “complete fabrication.”
“What is being alleged is a complete fabrication,” reads the statement to media outlets. “It’s disappointing but not surprising to see political opponents launch these false attacks just days before the election. Their limited correspondence has been strictly as fellow survivors of sexual assault and in Jennifer’s former capacity leading the Representation Project, an organization that fights limiting gender stereotypes and norms.”
A producer, Mrs. Newsom is the sister-in-law of Joshua Schiller, a partner at Boies Schiller and son of co-founder Jonathan Schiller. Joshua Schiller is married to Melissa Siebel Schiller, Mrs. Newsom‘s sister.
Asked Sunday about the allegations, Mr. Newsom said they were “outrageous and false and says everything you need to know about [Elder’s] campaign,” KTLA-TV reported.
At the press conference, Ms. McGowan said Mr. Elder was “the better candidate and the better man.”
“You have a choice. Stay status quo. Or be brave. I vote for bravery. I vote for Larry Elder,” she said as shown in a video posted on YouTube by Eric Brenner.
She said Thursday that Mrs. Newsom called her and set up a meeting in Brentwood, but that “I got very creeped out and I saw her sitting where I was supposed to meet her and I looked at her, and I turned around and I drove away.”
According to Ms. McGowan, the episode occurred several months before The New York Times reported in October 2017 that Mr. Weinstein had for decades paid off women who accused him of sexual harassment and assault.
The day after the story broke, the Huffington Post ran an op-ed by Mrs. Newsom in which she said she believed “every single word that was written” in the report, based on “my years in the industry and unfortunately, my own personal experience with Harvey Weinstein.”
Ms. McGowan also accused Mrs. Newsom of implying that “she was a Weinstein rape victim to get into this private email group of Weinstein rape victims,” and posted a transcript of an email that she said Mrs. Newsom wrote in December 2017.
“I want us to heal as a culture and so I asked Rose ‘what if anything Boies could do for her that would help her to heal’ and then I thought I would present that to my brother in law to take to Boies,” reads the alleged email.
In a statement, Mr. Elder praised Ms. McGowan, who starred in the WB network’s “Charmed” from 2001-06 and has since become known for her #MeToo activism, as a “brave, strong woman who is challenging the status quo and the bankrupt ideology of the ruling political classes.”
He also accused the press of downplaying her allegations.
“His [Mr. Newsom‘s] wife contacts Rose and says, what can we do to make you happy? What can we do to make this story go away, right before the Harvey Weinstein story blew up?” he said at the press conference. “That’s all you guys would be talking about if the allegation were made about me or my significant other.”
Mr. Elder leads the field of 46 candidates seeking to replace Mr. Newsom in Tuesday’s special election, although the latest polls show most voters oppose the recall by a margin of anywhere from 53% to 60%.
Joshua Schiller was arrested in January on domestic abuse charges in Marin County. The domestic abuse charge was dropped in April.