Rose McGowan pens response to critic of Renee Zellweger's face: 'Vile, damaging, stupid and cruel' (Guest Column)

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Rose McGowan Pens Response to Critic of Renee Zellweger

On June 30, Variety published a column by its new film critic, Owen Gleiberman, titled "Renee Zellweger: If She No Longer Looks Like Herself Has She Become a Different Actress?" The critical piece offered Gleiberman's take on plastic surgery in Hollywood, an issue he wrote about after watching a trailer for Zellweger's new film, Bridget Jones's Baby. Rose McGowan, who worked as an actress (Charmed, Scream) before turning her attention toward filmmaking, music and social activism especially focused on women's rights issues, has written a guest column for The Hollywood Reporter, published below, in response to Gleiberman (he declined to comment on her piece). McGowan's full essay appears below ...

Owen Gleiberman, this is not a counterpoint. There is no counterpoint, there is no defense for the indefensible.

Renee Zellweger is a human being, with feelings, with a life, with love and with triumphs and struggles, just like the rest of us. How dare you use her as a punching bag in your mistaken attempt to make a mark at your new job. How dare you bully a woman who has done nothing but try to entertain people like you. Her crime, according to you, is growing older in a way you don't approve of. Who are you to approve of anything? What you are doing is vile, damaging, stupid and cruel. It also reeks of status quo white-male privilege. So assured are you in your place in the firmament that is Hollywood, you felt it was OK to do this. And your editors at Variety felt this was more than OK to run.

You are an active endorser of what is tantamount to harassment and abuse of actresses and women. I speak as someone who was abused by Hollywood and by people like you in the media, but I'm a different breed, one they didn't count on. I refuse and reject this bullshit on behalf of those who feel they can't speak. I am someone who was forced by a studio to go on Howard Stern where he asked me to show him my labia while my grinning male and female publicists stood to the side and did nothing to protect me. I am someone who has withstood death threats from fanboys, had fat sites devoted to me. I've withstood harassment on a level you can't comprehend, Owen.

I was so confused by the heaping tons of abuse, I actually forgot what I looked like. Which is awesome because I rose up from some serious ashes to finally have my say. Here's some truth: Men like you and the women who sit idly by and say nothing should know that aiding and abetting is a moral crime, and if it were punished in Hollywood, most of you would be in some form of jail.

Any studio that Renee Zellweger has made money for, any co-star she's supported or anyone who takes a percentage of her income should be doing what's right; they should be calling this harassment out.

READ MORE: 'Bridget Jones' Baby' Trailer: Colin Firth, Patrick Dempsey Compete to Become a Father

As a woman who has been bullied for years by a vicious pack of lower beings, I can relate to this. Many are probably silent because they do not wish for the proverbial pen to be pointed at them; I say point away. Short of killing me, you can't possibly do more than what was done to me in my tenure as an actress. I don't care if you're afraid. Be brave. Do what's right, for once. I loathe fear. And this town is built on fear. Fear was instilled in me by the men and women of this town, just as I'm sure it was instilled in Ms. Zellweger. Fear of being blacklisted, fear of being branded difficult, fear of ... fear of ... fear of.

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Marilyn Manson and Rose McGowan (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)
Rose McGowan and Marilyn Manson during 15th Annual MTV Video Music Awards at Gibson Amphitheater in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
Rose McGowan and Marilyn Manson during 15th Annual MTV Video Music Awards at Gibson Amphitheater in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
Rose McGowan and Marilyn Manson during 15th Annual MTV Video Music Awards at Gibson Amphitheater in Los Angeles, California, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
Rose McGowan and Marilyn Manson during 15th Annual MTV Video Music Awards at Gibson Amphitheater in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 10: (L-R) Singer Marilyn Manson with girlfriend, actress Rose McGowan at MTV Video Music Awards. (Photo by Mirek Towski/DMI/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
Rose McGowan and Marilyn Manson (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
Marilyn Manson and Rose McGowan (Photo by Ke.Mazur/WireImage)
Rose McGowan (Photo by Barry King/WireImage)
Marilyn Manson and Rose McGowan (Photo by Ke.Mazur/WireImage)
Marilyn Manson and Rose McGowan (Photo by Ke.Mazur/WireImage)
Marilyn Manson and Rose McGowan (Photo by Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage)
Marilyn Manson and Rose McGowan (Photo by Ke.Mazur/WireImage)
Marilyn Manson and Rose McGowan (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)
Rose McGowan and Marilyn Manson (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
Rose McGowan (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)
Marilyn Manson and Rose McGowan (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)
Rose McGowan (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)
Marilyn Manson and Rose McGowan (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)
Marilyn Manson & Rose McGowan (Photo by Barry King/WireImage)
Rose McGowan and Marilyn Manson (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)
Rose McGowan and Marilyn Manson (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)
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Well, guess what, Owen? I am not afraid of you or anyone. It is a small, small, myopic, self-fellating town that loves to love itself. I am here to ask you all to put the mirror down and look out at society, because whether you're aware of it or not, you too are part of society and by retreating to the standard go-to — silence — you are hurting all of us. Look at what you're doing and where you bear responsibility and culpability. Who are you all protecting and why? Who are you helping and why?

To illustrate what women in the public eye go through ad nauseam, I have replaced Renee Zellweger's name in your article with those of male actors.

The movie's star, LEONARDO DICAPRIO, already had his "Did he or didn't he?" moment back in 2014, and I had followed the round-the-world scrutinizing of his image that went along with it, but this was different. Watching the trailer, I didn't stare at the actor and think: He doesn't look like LEONARDO DICAPRIO. I thought: He doesn't look like JAY GATSBY!

In the case of MATT DAMON, it may look to a great many people like something more than an elaborate makeup job has taken place, but we can't say for sure. What we can say is that if that happened, it reflects something indescribably sad about our culture. For in addition to being a great actor, DAMON as much or more than any star of his era, has been a poster guy for the notion that each and every one of us is beautiful in just the way God made us.

"You complete me" is one of the great lines in modern romantic movies because of the way it takes its inner meaning from who TOM CRUISE is. This is what completes you: someone who looks just like this. What completes you is reality.

RYAN GOSLING had won the lottery, had been plucked from semi-obscurity by the movie gods (or, actually, by the daring of Cameron Crowe), but not because it was so unusual to see a non-famous actor starring in a major movie.

He worked with costars who reinforced his supernova status, through their fame or their beauty or both. ROB LOWE, with pillowy cheeks and quizzically pursed lips and that singular squint, was beautiful, but not in the way that a BRAD PITT or GEORGE CLOONEY was.

JOHNNY DEPP was no flash in the pan, but after 'Edward Scissorhands', he struggled to find roles that could complete him. It wasn't until 'Pirates of the Carribean,' five years later, that he hit his stride by finding a role that jelled with his image as an extraordinary ordinary guy.

A spirit reflected, at least in the first two movies, in the slightly slovenly doughy-cuddly perfection of ANSEL ELGORT's face. Yes, he gained weight for the role, but the added weight was still him. I'm one of the few critics who loved even the second film (the ANSEL-goes-to-Thai-prison plot might have seemed absurd, except that ELGORT grounded it), and the third chapter is long overdue. I just hope it turns out to be a movie that stars ANSEL ELGORT rather than a victim of Invasion of the Face Snatchers.

40 PHOTOS
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Actress Renee Zellweger attends the 2001 VH1/Vogue Fashion Awards on October 19, 2001 at Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
Actress Renee Zellweger attends the 58th Annual Golden Globe Awards on January 21, 2001 at Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Actress Renee Zellweger attends the Nurse Betty New York City Premiere on September 6, 2000 at Loews East Cinemas in New York City. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
Actor Jay Mohr and actress Renee Zellweger attend the 16th Annual MTV Video Music Awards on September 9, 1999 at the Metropolitan Opera House, Lincoln Center in New York City. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Actress Renee Zellweger attends The Bachelor Hollywood Premiere on November 3, 1999 at Pacific's Cinerama Dome in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Actress Renee Zellweger attends the One True Thing Century City Premiere on September 16, 1998 at Cineplex Odeon Century Plaza Cinemas in Century City, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Actress Renee Zellweger attends the One True Thing New York City Premiere on September 13, 1998 at Sony Theatres Lincoln Square in New York City. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Actress Renee Zellweger attends the Jerry Maguire New York City Premiere on December 6, 1996 at Pier 88 in New York City. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
Actress Renee Zellweger attends the Jerry Maguire Westwood Premiere on December 11, 1996 at Mann Village Theatre in Westwood, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
American actress Renée Zellweger and Japanese artist, singer, and peace activist Yoko Ono attend the preview for the Matt Nye Spring 2000 collection, New York City, USA, 1999. (Photo by Rose Hartman/Archive Photos/Getty Images)
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HOLLYWOOD - DECEMBER 20: Actor Jim Carrey and actress Renee Zellweger attends the 'Man on the Moon' Hollywood Premiere on December 20, 1999 at the Mann's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
UNITED STATES - CIRCA 2000: Renee Zellweger is on hand for the New York premiere of the movie 'Nurse Betty' at the Loews Cineplex 19th St. East Theater. She stars in the film. (Photo by Richard Corkery/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
Jim Carrey & Renee Zellweger (Photo by Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage)
Greg Kinnear and Renee Zellweger at the photo call for the film 'Nurse Betty' at the 53rd Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France, 5/12/00.Photo: Frank Micelotta/ImageDirect
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Renee Zellweger and director Neil Labute at the premiere for the film 'Nurse Betty' at the 53rd Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France, 5/12/00.Photo by Frank Micelotta/ImageDirect
Jim Carrey and Renee Zellweger at the premiere of 'Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas' at the Universal Amphitheatre in Los Angeles Ca. 11/8/00. Photo by Kevin Winter/ImageDirect
383127 11: Actress Renee Zellweger arrives at the 10th Annual Fire & Ice Ball December 11, 2000 at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, CA. (Photo by Chris Weeks/Liaison)
Renee Zellweger (Photo by SGranitz/WireImage)
LONDON - MARCH 10: American actress Renee Zellweger, British actor Hugh Grant and British pop star Geri Halliwell arrive at the UK premiere of the film 'Bridget Jones' Diary' at the Empire Cinema Leicester Square on March 10, 2001 in London. (Photo by Dave Hogan/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - OCTOBER 19: Renee Zellweger is on hand for the 2001 VH1/Vogue Fashion Awards at the Manhattan Center's Hammerstein Ballroom. (Photo by Richard Corkery/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, : US actress Renee Zellweger arrives at the 74th Annual Academy Awards at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, CA, 24 March 2002. Zellweger is nominated for Best Actress for her role in 'Bridget Jones's Diary.' AFP PHOTO/Lucy NICHOLSON (Photo credit should read LUCY NICHOLSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Renee Zellweger relaxes after her 22-minute run during 5th Annual New York Revlon Run/Walk for Women - to Raise Funds for Women's Cancer Research, Awareness & Prevention at Time Square & East Meadow of Central Park in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage)
Renee Zellweger during Chicago Press Conference with Catherine Zeta-Jones, Renee Zellweger, Richard Gere, Queen Latifah, John C. Reilly, Bill Condon and Rob Marshall at The Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, United States. (Photo by Vera Anderson/WireImage)
Renee Zellweger wearing Jil Sander during Anna Wintour and Harvey Weinstein Co-host Screening of Chicago at Tribeca Grand Hotel in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by James Devaney/WireImage)
Renee Zellweger during Sundance Film Festival Archives by Randall Michelson in Park City, Utah, United States. (Photo by Randall Michelson/WireImage)
Renee Zellweger during Chicago Special Screening to Benefit GLAAD and Broadway Cares - Outside Arrivals at The Ziegfeld Theater in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage)
LONDON - DECEMBER 19: American actress Renee Zellweger poses at Cafe Royal in London in occasion of the UK 'Chicago' Premierr on December 19, 2002. (Photo by Jon Furniss/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - JANUARY 10: *** EXCLUSIVE *** (ITALY OUT) Actress Renee Zellweger carries bottled water as she leaves her hotel January 10, 2003 in New York City. (Photo by Arnaldo Magnani/Getty Images)
Richard Gere and Renee Zellweger (wearing Chanel) at the 2002 National Board Of Review Of Motion Pictures Annual Awards Gala at Tavern-On-The-Green in New York City. January 14, 2003. Photo by Evan Agostini/Getty Images
Renee Zellweger at the 60th Annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles, Ca., 1/19/03. Zellweger won 'Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture-Musical or Comedy' for Chicago. (Photo by Frank Micelotta/ImageDirect)
ITALY - FEBRUARY 10: Renee Zellweger in Rome, Italy on February 10th, 2003. (Photo by Eric VANDEVILLE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - MARCH 01: Renee Zellweger in the press room at the 55th Annual Directors Guild Awards at the Century Plaza Hotel in Century City, CA 03/01/03 (Photo by Vinnie Zuffante/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - MARCH 9: Actress Renee Zellweger poses backstage with her Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role and Outstanding Performance by A Cast In A Theatrical Motion Picture awards for 'Chicago' during the 9th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Shrine Auditorium on March 9, 2003 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
Renee Zellweger during Miramax 2003 MAX Awards - Inside at St. Regis Hotel in Los Angeles, California, United States. (Photo by KMazur/WireImage)
Renee Zellweger wearing a Neil Lane ring at the The Kodak Theater in Hollywood, California (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)
Renee Zellweger during Renee Zellweger Promotes 'Down with Love'Boutique at Bloomingdales at Bloomingdale's in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by James Devaney/WireImage)
Renee Zellweger during 2003 Tribeca Film Festival - 'Down With Love' World Premiere at Tribeca Performing Arts Center, 199 Chambers Street in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by KMazur/WireImage)
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Owen, the last line in your article, "I hope it turns out to be a movie about a gloriously ordinary person rather than someone who looks like she no longer wants to be who she is" is quite the mind f---.

Guess what? It is time to stop f—ing with women's minds.

Do you know what my interests are, Owen?

My interests are bigger than pondering a stranger's face. My interest is destroying the status quo. My interest as a card-carrying member of society is to STOP the brainwashing Hollywood and the media have for too long gotten away with. The brainwashing that you have long been a friend to and a supporter of.

Let's talk about Hollywood writers: Joan Didion, John Fante, Raymond Chandler, Robert Towne, Dorothy Parker, John Gregory Dunne, Preston Sturges, I.A.L. Diamond, Pauline Kael and Billy Wilder. These were writers on Hollywood.

You, Owen Gleiberman, are not they.

You are simply a bully on semi-glossy paper.

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