The actor, activist and director, who was instrumental in the early takedown of Harvey Weinstein after publicly accusing him of rape, wrote allegations against Payne on Twitter.
“Alexander Payne,” McGowan tweeted. “You sat me down & played a soft-core porn movie you directed for Showtime under a different name. I still remember your apartment in Silverlake. You are very well-endowed. You left me on a street corner afterwards. I was 15.”
In a second tweet, McGowan added: “I just want an acknowledgement and an apology. I do not want to destroy. This was me at 15.” She attached to the tweet an image of herself at 15, as well as a GIF in which she can be seen making a hand gesture in front of the word “NO”.
Payne has won two Best Adapted Screenplay Oscars, for his films Sideways and Nebraska, and has directed films including The Descendants, Election and Downsizing.
“In 2017 … I started reviewing a relationship, quote unquote, that I had had with a very powerful, well not at the time powerful at all, but powerful [man],” she said. “He was really cool and very handsome and probably like 32 or 33.”
“How old were you?” Farrow asked. “15,” McGowan replied. “Looking back, I was groomed. I auditioned for him, and then he took me back to his apartment in Silver Lake, played me a soft porn movie he’d directed for Showtime under a different name, and then I slept with him.
“Then he left me on the street corner next to Cafe Tropical on Sunset [Boulevard]. But I’d always framed it, when I would see him around, I always thought he was really handsome and I liked him. And I would say to him, ‘Isn’t it funny? I can’t believe you slept with me when I was 15.’ And I thought that was funny.”
“I assume, looking back, you no longer find that funny?” Farrow asked.
“No, and in fact when I started to break it down and figure it out, I started crying because I felt really bad for that girl that was left on that street corner,” she said. “I still talk about it like that, like that ‘young girl’ or that ... it’s a very divorced feeling from me. But I think it’s just coping mechanisms. But I don’t know, I haven’t decided what to do with that information.”
When Farrow asked if she would ever name the man in question, McGowan said: “I’ll go reflect on it more and get back to you.”
The Independent has reached out to Payne’s representatives for comment.