Actress Rose McGowan, one of the first women to publicly accuse Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault, described the arrest Friday of the former Hollywood powerhouse as something she didn't think would ever happen.
“It’s surreal, it's real. It's both, and it’s kind of like living in a Salvador Dali painting, this whole thing,” she said on Megyn Kelly TODAY just hours after Weinstein turned himself into police.
Weinstein surrendered in Manhattan at a New York police station where he was arrested on charges of rape, criminal sex act, sex abuse and sexual misconduct for incidents involving two women.
McGowan went public last fall with accusations that Weinstein had raped her, although she previously alluded to being sexually assaulted by a powerful studio head.
Asked if she could ever forgive Weinstein, McGowan said: "I don't want to. Because it’s not about me, I’m just a representative for all of us who've been hurt."
But she also said she needs to first forgive "so many others" before Weinstein.
"Setting myself free, it’s all a process. We’re all going through this together," she said. "This is happening in real time. But I can say this — the man who pinned me down had handcuffs on him today."
McGowan is among dozens of women who accused Weinstein of sexual assault or harassment and said rebuffing the disgraced mogul cost them their Hollywood career. The accusations, first reported by The New York Times, eventually crashed Weinstein’s movie empire and launched the “Me Too” movement.
“We got you. We got you,” McGowan said of her message to Weinstein if he were watching her interview.
In addition to McGowan, other Hollywood actresses who have accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct include Ashley Judd, Uma Thurman, Salma Hayek, Lupita Nyong’o and Angelina Jolie. He also has been accused by employees of Miramax, the movie studio he founded with his brother, Bob, and other women, including TV journalist Lauren Sivan.
"This is a big strike into the heart of abuse of power, and it shows people worldwide, which is what I was hoping the whole time, that this cannot and will not stand," said McGowan, who blamed the Hollywood structure for allowing Weinstein's allegedly well-known cycle of abuse to continue for decades.
"The system was created by men like him and had the accomplices to help men like him," she said.
People around Weinstein "lay wreaths at his feet, even though they knew" about his behavior toward women, she added. "Today is a good day."
McGowan said she's not sure if she can totally shed her life of Weinstein because of the impact he's had on her life and how she is constantly reminded of him in news stories.
"He was the dominant figure and sometimes I feel like we’re kind of attached in this weird death match until one of us dies," she said.
But she's slowly working on the healing process.
"Predators eat people and he ate a lot of my life, and I want my life back, and I’m living a really great life now," she said.
"I want to be free."