Rose McGowan Addresses The Controversy That Made Her Public Enemy No. 1 To The Gays

"Just because you’re gay, doesn’t mean you’re deep and it doesn’t give you a pass."

Rose McGowan found herself in hot water at the tale end of 2014 after calling gay men misogynists. Did she generalize? Yes – and she’s admitted that. But was McGowan entirely wrong? Perhaps not.

Related: Rose McGowan Is Mad As Hell – And Wondering Why You Aren’t, Too

The source of the controversy was the Sultan of Brunei, who, in April 2014, announced that the restrictive Sharia criminal code – which included the stoning of homosexuals to death – would go into effect in phases beginning in May.

The Sultan also happens to the the owner of the famed Beverly Hills Hotel as part of his Dorchester Collection, which includes 9 other luxury hotels.

Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah addresses the 70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly at the UN in New York on September 30, 2015. AFP PHOTO/JEWEL SAMAD        (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
The Sultan of Brunei (Credit: JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

Shortly after the announcement, demonstrators rallied outside the hotel, events were canceled and the boycotts began.

Celebrities including Ellen Degeneres, Elton John, Anna Wintour, Jay Leno an Richard Branson spoke out in opposition.

Rose McGowan, a longtime LGBT alley, herself having spent hours volunteering at local LGBT centers in LA, decided on a different form of protest.

McGowan invited 50 of her friends, many of them gay, to attend the first of several “Gay Ins” at the hotel’s Bar Nineteen12. She decorated the bar with gay rights flags as an alternative way to protest. “I wanted the sultan to see photos of the kind of love he’s outlawed,” she told Vanity Fair.

PARIS, FRANCE - JANUARY 29: Actress Rose McGowan is seen on January 29, 2015 in Paris, France.  (Photo by Marc Piasecki/GC Images)
Getty Images

Appearing on Bret Easton Ellis’ podcast months later, McGowan addressed those within the gay community who had chosen to boycott the hotel saying, “gay men are as misogynistic as straight men, if not more so.” Adding: “I see now people who have basically fought for the right to stand on top of a float wearing an orange speedo and take molly.”

McGowan swiftly issued a mea culpa, penning an op-ed for The Advocate in which she admitted to making a “dumb generalization,” but was steadfast in refusing to apologize for her larger point that the gay community was not standing up for women.

When I sat down with McGowan for an in-depth one-on-one last week, she was more than willing to address the controversy which clearly remains a heated topic, even with nearly a year of hindsight.


You faced a lot of backlash at the end of last year for some comments you made about the gay community in which you claimed that gay men are misogynistic.

What I said was chopped up and misinterpreted. I was speaking about a very specific group of gay men who were protesting The Sultan of Brunei at the Beverly Hills Hotel, and how they were protesting. There are better, more organized ways to protest.

Equal rights doesn’t mean you earn the right not to be offended. Someone on Twitter said to me, ’You’ve offended to public,’ and I said, ’The public has offended me. Don’t I get a say in this?’ With the amount of abuse I’ve gotten for solely existing in this world is insane, I wouldn’t wish that on anybody. Just because you’re gay, doesn’t mean you’re deep and it doesn’t give you a pass. Be a little more thoughtful.

What do you feel like is the next battle for LGBT people?

Try fighting for women for a change. I was waiting for GLAAD and such to respond when equal pay was voted down. We’re under attack, and a lot of communities aren’t doing anything. They’re stoked that they got theirs, and that’s not enough. There’s a lot of injustice still out there. It doesn’t stop.

A black woman gets paid 68 cents on the dollar, a white woman gets 78 cents and a black lesbian gets 48 cents. You tell me how much more we pay for self-care: nails, hair and same taxes, and a lot of women are single mothers, you tell me how we’re supposed to catch up. I am disappointed by and large.

Read McGowan’s full interview with NewNowNext here.