"HW" was apparently in reference to Harvey Weinstein, the embattled former Weinstein Co. co-chairman. The Hollywood Reporter says McGowan confirmed the reference. Weinstein representative Sallie Hofmeister did not immediately return a message seeking comment, but previously issued a statement in response to The New Yorker's recent article containing stories from Weinstein's accusers: "Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein. Mr. Weinstein has further confirmed that there were never any acts of retaliation against any women for refusing his advances. Mr. Weinstein obviously can’t speak to anonymous allegations, but with respect to any women who have made allegations on the record, Mr. Weinstein believes that all of these relationships were consensual. Mr. Weinstein has begun counseling, has listened to the community and is pursuing a better path. Mr. Weinstein is hoping that, if he makes enough progress, he will be given a second chance."
McGowan last year said that she had been raped by a "studio head." The New Yorker expose that ran Tuesday reported that Weinstein had allegedly sexually assaulted three women, though the third woman was unnamed. The New York Times earlier reported that Weinstein paid a financial settlement of $100,000 to McGowan in 1997. That settlement included provisions about speaking about the case in the future.
But McGowan appeared emboldened Thursday to describe more outright her past experience with Weinstein. Shortly before a series a tweets addressed to Amazon chief Jeff Bezos, McGowan tweeted a woman warrior picture with a "Rosearmy" hashtag and stated "It's on."
"I told the head of your studio that HW raped me," said McGowan in tweets directed to Bezos. "Over and Over I said it. He said it hadn't been proven. I said I was the proof."
In subsequent tweets, McGowan appeared to suggest that Amazon Studios, which is overseen by Roy Price, previously dropped a project penned by McGowan after she insisted Weinstein not be involved.
Representatives for Amazon did not immediately comment Thursday.
The 44-year-old McGowan has emerged as one of the most vocal in Hollywood about sexual abuse and harassment in the industry. She has pushed for the remaining board members of The Weinstein Co. to resign in the wake of the allegations against Weinstein. She also this week called Ben Affleck "a liar" on Twitter, suggesting the actor knew about Weinstein's conduct. (She and Affleck co-starred in 1997 Going All the Way and 1998's Phantoms.)
Representatives for Affleck did not respond to messages regarding that allegation.
Considering McGowan's stature as a central figure in the Weinstein saga, Twitter sparked an outcry across social media when it temporarily suspended McGowan from its service. The ban was lifted Thursday afternoon but not before a storm of criticism from Jessica Chastain, Anthony Bourdain and many others.
Twitter said Thursday that it suspended McGowan's account because she tweeted a private phone number, a practice it said violated its service terms. The company said it will "be clearer about these policies and decisions in the future."