Ashley Judd is suing disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein for allegedly “blacklisting” her from Hollywood after she rejected his advances.
The actress, 50, claims her career withered because the mogul spread “baseless smears” to The Lord Of The Rings director Sir Peter Jackson to scupper her chance of landing a role in the blockbusting trilogy.
After the lawsuit was filed in Los Angeles on Monday, Judd said she would donate any damages won to the Time’s Up initiative and its legal defence fund to help women fight sexual harassment.
My legal complaint. I am suing for economic remedy due to damage done to my career as a result of sexual harassment. Financial recuperation goes to @TIMESUPNOW @TIMESUPLDF so that American workers who experince sexual harassment & retaliation have help. https://t.co/Nod3fXgVk3— ashley judd (@AshleyJudd) April 30, 2018
In December, Sir Peter said he had not cast Judd or Mira Sorvino, who also alleges she was sexually harassed by Weinstein, because of a “smear campaign” by Miramax, which was co-founded by Weinstein.
Judd’s lawyer, Theodore Boutrous Jr, said in the lawsuit that Weinstein was the “headwind limiting her (Judd’s) career” and that he “torpedoed” her opportunity to work on the films by claiming she was a “nightmare” who should be avoided “at all costs”.
“With those baseless smears, Weinstein succeeded in blacklisting Ms Judd and destroying her ability to work on what became a multi-billion-dollar franchise with 17 Academy Award wins and many more nominations,” Mr Boutrous wrote.
They claim this came after Weinstein sexually harassed her in a Beverly Hills hotel room in around 1996 when her career was still in its infancy.
Weinstein allegedly invited her to his room in the Peninsula under the guise of discussing film roles, but instead asked to massage her as he wore a bathrobe and requested that she watch him shower.
“Ms Judd reasonably believed that Weinstein intended to physically assault her,” Mr Boustrous wrote.
“Cornered, and desperate to escape without angering a man who had the ability to end her budding career, Ms Judd engaged in a mock bargain with Weinstein, suggesting that she would consider letting him touch her only if she won an Academy Award in one of his films.
“Weinstein responded, ‘When you get nominated.’ Ms Judd held firm, saying, ‘No, when I win.’ And then she fled the scene.”
Judd said the first time she became aware of why Sir Peter failed to cast her was when he spoke about the decision last year as dozens of women publicly accused Weinstein of sexual harassment and assault.
Weinstein, 66, is being investigated by police in London, New York and Los Angeles. He has apologised for his past behaviour but denies all allegations of non-consensual sex.
A spokeswoman for Weinstein refuted the claims of Judd and Sir Peter and said the shamed producer would launch a “vigorous defence”.
“The most basic investigation of the facts will reveal that Mr Weinstein neither defamed Ms Judd nor ever interfered with Ms Judd’s career, and instead not only championed her work but also repeatedly approved her casting for two of his movies over the next decade,” she said.