Alexander Payne’s History of Rape and Harassment Accusations

Alexander Payne is a celebrated film director and producer with movies like Citizen Ruth and Sideways under his belt. However, not many people are aware of his shady history of harassing his female coworkers and subordinates. 

The Oscar-winning director has received multiple accusations of harassment from multiple victims. 

The 61-year old producer seems harmless at first but some of the allegations against him are too serious to ignore. 

Rose McGowan’s Claims of Statutory Rape Against Alexander Payne:

Some view her as the harbinger of the MeToo movement while others like to call her ‘delusional’ but one thing is certain, Rose McGowan is a prominent voice. 

She had made allegations against Harvey Weinstein when most people refused to even believe her. Her courageous effort played a huge role in inspiring other women to come forward and sparkle the #MeToo movement in 2016. 

In 2020, she made a serious allegation against Alexander Payne. McGowan had claimed in a tweet that Payne had shown her a “soft-core porn movie” when she was just 15-years old. 

She added that Payne had directed the soft-core pornographic film for Showtime under a different name. 

Then, she alleges that he left her on a street corner afterwards. Rose McGowan also shared some details regarding this incident on Instagram saying it was ‘sexual relations’ akin to ‘grooming’ becuase she was an underage acting aspirant. 

Obviously, fearing the consequences of such a revelation, Alexander Payne responded to these allegations. 

alexander payne wikipedia

However, he didn’t take to Twitter or any other social media platform. 

Instead, he wrote a guest column on Deadline where he detailed his own version of the events. He claims that Rose was mistaken in alleging they met when she was 15. His excuse is that he was a full-time film student at UCLA from 1984 to 1990 and their paths never crossed. 

Payne further added McGowan’s claim of him showing her a soft-core porn movie directed by him under a different name would be impossible because he never directed anything under a different name. 

He also claimed that he has never directed anything professionally of that nature. 

According to Alexander Payne, he met Rose McGowan in 1991 when she was 18-years old. He claims McGowan had auditioned for a part in his comic short for the Playboy Channel. 

Payne wrote in his column, “Although she did not get the part, she left a note for me at the casting desk asking that I call her.” He said that he had no reason to question how old she was since the role she auditioned for required an actor of legal age. 

However, Alexander Payne does admit to seeing her for a couple of dates afterwards and claims he has remained on friendly terms with her for years. 

When Variety reached out to Rose McGowan to respond to his column, she said, “F### him and his lies is my comment. I told Payne to acknowledge and apologize, he has not. I said I didn’t want to destroy, now I do. Why do these men always lie? I will now make it a mission to expose him. I am not the only one.”

“Who the f### Do you Think you are?” – When Alexander Payne Harassed Holly Hughes

In 2016, Holly Hughes had written an essay online detailing how she was harassed during the shooting of The Election. 

While she didn’t mention the film outright, she did give several references to help people get an idea of what film she was talking about. The 1999’s Election was a successful film and is hailed as one of the best works of Alexander Payne. 

alexander payne movies

(Source: TheDailyBeast)

Hughes’ essay, although very shocking, didn’t have much of an impact. Maybe that’s because the #MeToo movement wasn’t huge back then? 

In the original essay, Hughes mentions Alexander Payne directly and tagged it “Election Reflection”, “sexual harassment” and “workplace bullying”. 

Her essay mentions an incident involving the assistant director George. She shares that George had hoisted her up on top of a plastic table in the middle of the front office and started dry-humping her. 

alexander payne news
A picture of Holly Hughes

“He pinned me in place as the table legs scooted back against the wall with his bodily force,” she writes. Then, the front doors opened and a few crew members entered including a few producers, Alexander Payne himself, and some assistants. They all began laughing. 

Sadly, nobody did anything about George. One of the staff members even talked to Hughes about how if it happened somewhere else, he would have been fired. Hughes writes that even she was shocked to see that no action had been taken against George. 

In the essay, Holly Hughes recalls that she received both verbal abuse and harassment. 

She shares that a producer, Jake, had asked her to forge SAG sheets to change the working hours of the actors. When she refused, Alexander “had a problem” with her. Apart from pushing back against forged documentations, another reason why Alexander Payne had a problem with her was the fact that she sent the full script to a minor actor’s parents.

According to Hughes, Payne didn’t want the parents to read the script because they might back out after learning of the scene where actors watch porn. 

This is exactly what transpired. Then, he called her angrily and said, “Tell me Jake made you do it”. 

Hughes says that even though she could have put the blame on Jake, she didn’t want to lie. So, she told him that she sent the script. 

In response, Payne said, “Who the f### do you think you are?” She writes that he cursed at her for several minutes, calling her various derogatory terms. 

Hughes thought Payne would fire her immediately but apparently, he wanted to ‘dole out his punishment’. So, he humiliated her in front of her mother and coworkers. 

The incident occurred around Thanksgiving and her mother had come to visit. Sean, the second assistant director, had invited her to set the day before Thanksgiving and placed her as an extra in a scene. 

Then, Hughes sat in position for the rehearsal but right before Payne was going to start shooting, he asked her to leave. When she started leaving, he said, “Get back to the office. I don’t want you on my set. At all.”

The events were so traumatizing that she left the entertainment industry altogether. Later, she found that the story of her harassment present on the Alexander Payne Wikipedia page vanished one day. 

She doesn’t know how it happened but suspected that the PR team of Payne was behind it. 

Still, no matter how much his PR team tries, they can’t hide the truth forever. Predators like Alexander Payne or Juan Monteverde get exposed eventually.




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