Actress Ashley Judd is pursuing legal action against disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein in an effort to “take a stand” for her younger self.
The Double Jeopardy star filed a defamation lawsuit against the producer on Monday (30Apr18), accusing him of blacklisting her and sabotaging her career after she refused his sexual advances.
Judd was one of the first women to go public with her experience of Weinstein’s alleged sexual harassment during the early days of her career as part of a New York Times expose in October (17).
In her suit, she refers to comments made by Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson late last year, when he confessed to dropping Judd from his casting consideration for the 2001 blockbuster based on remarks Weinstein had allegedly made about her lack of professionalism.
Weinstein has vehemently denied jeopardising Judd’s career in a statement issued by his representative, insisting “the most basic investigation of the facts” will establish he did nothing of the sort, but in a new interview with ABC News, the 50-year-old actress refuses to back down, and is standing by her claims.
“I lost career opportunity, I lost money, I lost status and prestige and power in my career as a direct result of having been sexually harassed and rebuffing the sexual harassment…,” she said.
“What I want is for Mr. Weinstein to be held accountable for his illegal conduct,” Judd continued. “I was on such a roll (career-wise, at the time of her first encounter with Weinstein). My career opportunities, after having been defamed by Harvey Weinstein, were significantly diminished.”
Admitting her casting snub by Jackson was “very upsetting” at the time, Judd explained she is “perfectly imperfect”, but insisted, “I have confidence in my professional integrity.”
And Ashley is proud to be taking up the legal fight not only for herself, but for others affected by various forms of discrimination, too.
“The ultimate goal is for safe and equal workplaces, and for economic damage to women’s careers in particular, to end, and for the threat and action of retaliation to end,” she shared. “We all experience that and that is illegal behaviour.”
Concluding the interview, which aired on breakfast show Good Morning America on Tuesday (01May18), she added, “It’s wonderful to be able to take a stand on behalf of the younger self that I was.”
Ashley plans to donate any damages she wins from the case to the Time’s Up legal defence fund to help other victims of sexual misconduct and discrimination in the workplace.