American director Alexander Payne has responded for the first time to actress Rose McGowan's allegation of sexual grooming.
McGowan, 47, wrote on social media in August that the director of films such as The Descendants (2011) and Downsizing (2017) had engaged her in a sexual act when she was 15.
"For years I had thought a man I had sexual relations with was a sexual experience I had. I now know I was groomed," said the #MeToo activist who was one of the first women to come forward with allegations of sexual assault against disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein in October 2017.
In a guest column on entertainment news website Deadline on Friday (Sept 4), Payne, 59, denied meeting McGowan in the late 1980s when she was 15.
"I was a full-time film student at UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles) from 1984 until 1990, and I know that our paths never crossed," he wrote.
He denied showing her "a soft-core porn movie" he "directed for Showtime under a different name", saying that he has never worked for the TV network or "directed under any name other than my own".
He said he did meet her in 1991 during his first directing job "when she auditioned for a comic short I was making for a Playboy Channel series".
He said she did not get the part, but she "left a note for me at the casting desk asking that I call her."
He added that they "later went out on a couple of dates and remained on friendly terms for years."
In response to the article, McGowan said on Twitter on Saturday that Payne was playing the victim and lying to the public. She told entertainment news website Variety she would "now make it a mission to expose him. I am not the only one".
In her August social media post, she had asked for "an acknowledgement and an apology" and said she did not want to destroy him.
Payne, who has been nominated for Best Director Oscar three times, said in the column he would not comment further on the matter.