Ashley Judd — who alleges that Harvey Weinstein behaved inappropriately toward her in the mid-1990s — is suing the disgraced producer Monday in Los Angeles County Superior Court. The two-time Golden Globe nominee is seeking damages for sexual harassment and defamation, also contending that Weinstein violated California’s Unfair Competition Law. Any winnings would be donated to the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund, Judd said in a statement.
Once Judd had been cast in Miramax’s 1995 film, “Smoke,” she was summoned to a breakfast meeting with its co-founder, Weinstein, at the Peninsula Beverly Hills. She was directed to his room, where he awaited her dressed in a bathrobe, seeking a massage or a shower audience. Although Judd declined, she did appear in “Smoke” and a second Miramax feature, “Kiss the Girls.”
The actress first recounted the incident to Variety in October 2015, omitting Weinstein’s name. Two years later, she became the first film star to go on record with New York Times reporters Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, who shared Pulitzer Prizes with The New Yorker‘s Ronan Farrow for their investigations into Weinstein’s purported sexual misconduct.
IndieWire has reached out to Weinstein’s representative for comment.
This December, Peter Jackson revealed in an interview that he cut Judd from a list of actors under consideration for his sweeping “Lord of the Rings” trilogy after Weinstein said she was a “nightmare” colleague. “In hindsight, I realize that this was very likely the Miramax smear campaign in full swing,” Jackson said.
“Weinstein’s wrongful and outrageous conduct has not just deprived Ms. Judd of the specific opportunity to play a prominent role in a blockbuster film trilogy; it has had a long-lasting ripple effect on her whole career,” reads Judd’s complaint.
Judd was featured on the Time magazine’s 2017 “Person of the Year” cover, as one of “the silence breakers” who galvanized the #MeToo movement.
Los Angeles County Superior Court is also where an anonymous actress sued Weinstein for sexual assault and battery in November 2017. Gloria Allred is representing the client, who claims Weinstein mistreated her in 2015 and 2016. Six more alleged victims — Louisette Geiss, Katherine Kendall, Zoe Brock, Sarah Ann Masse, Melissa Sagemiller, and Nannette Klatt — filed a class-action racketeering lawsuit against Weinstein; his brother and former business partner, Bob; and the studios they led together, Miramax and the Weinstein Company. A new owner for the latter is expected to emerge at a May 4 bankruptcy auction.