[Variety] When she was filming Paramount’s Kiss the Girls in the late 90s, Judd was sexually harassed by a mogul from a rival studio, who kept summoning her to his hotel room under the pretense of talking about roles in his movies.
Ashley Judd: I was sexually harassed by one of our industry’s most famous, admired-slash-reviled bosses. I was making Kiss the Girls at the time, and here I was, a declared feminist. I had completed a minor in what was then called women’s studies, which we now call gender studies. And yet I did not recognize at the time what was happening to me. It took years before I could evaluate that incident and realize that there was something incredibly wrong and illegal about it.
In my example, there was no casting involved. This was just twirling the lasso. I think it’s very important to note that I considered myself empowered. He was very stealth and expert about it. He groomed me, which is a technical term – Oh, come meet at the hotel for something to eat. Fine, I show up. Oh, he’s actually in his room. I’m like, Are you kidding me? I just worked all night. I’m just going to order cereal. It went on in these stages. It was so disgusting. He physically lured me by saying, “Oh, help me pick out what I’m going to wear.” There was a lot that happened between the point of entry and the bargaining. There was this whole process of bargaining—“Come do this, come do this, come do this.” And I would say, “No, no, no.” I have a feeling if this is online and people have the opportunity to post comments, a lot of the people will say, “Why didn’t you leave the room?”, which is victim-blaming. When I kept saying no to everything, there was a huge asymmetry of power and control in that room.
This will be familiar to all the women to whom this has happened. I have a feeling we are a legion. I was with a bunch of other actors, and it was critical that it was actors: The exact same thing had happened to them by the exact same mogul. Only when we were sitting around talking about it did we realize our experiences were identical.
The ultimate thing when I was weaseling out of everything else was, “Will you watch me take a shower?” And all the other women, sitting around this table with me, said, “Oh my god—that’s what he said to me too.” In that moment, I told him something like, “When I win an Academy Award in one of your movies.” He said, “No, when you get nominated.” I said, “No, no, when I win an Academy Award.” That was a small moment of power when I was able to contradict him and hold to my reality. And then I got out of there. And by the way, I’ve never been offered a movie by that studio. Ever.
BG Note: We edited this story for length. You can read the full article here.
[Optional] Have you ever been in a situation similar to Ashley Judd, where you were harassed by a person in power?
Mogul: Harvey Weinstein
His Studio: Miramax
Harvey Weinstein is being accused of sexual harassment and intimidation by multiple women.
From The New York Times:
Two decades ago, the Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein invited Ashley Judd to the Peninsula Beverly Hills hotel for what the young actress expected to be a business breakfast meeting. Instead, he had her sent up to his room, where he appeared in a bathrobe and asked if he could give her a massage or she could watch him shower, she recalled in an interview.
“How do I get out of the room as fast as possible without alienating Harvey Weinstein?” Ms. Judd said she remembers thinking.
An investigation by The New York Times found previously undisclosed allegations against Mr. Weinstein stretching over nearly three decades, documented through interviews with current and former employees and film industry workers, as well as legal records, emails and internal documents from the businesses he has run, Miramax and the Weinstein Company.
During that time, after being confronted with allegations including sexual harassment and unwanted physical contact, Mr. Weinstein has reached at least eight settlements with women, according to two company officials speaking on the condition of anonymity. Among the recipients, The Times found, were a young assistant in New York in 1990, an actress in 1997, an assistant in London in 1998, an Italian model in 2015 and Ms. O’Connor shortly after, according to records and those familiar with the agreements.
In a statement to The Times on Thursday afternoon, Mr. Weinstein said: “I appreciate the way I’ve behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologize for it. Though I’m trying to do better, I know I have a long way to go.”
He added that he was working with therapists and planning to take a leave of absence to “deal with this issue head on.”
Since Weinstein is such a powerful and influential man in Hollywood, it is both sad and not entirely shocking that it took so long to expose him.
Harvey Weinstein is also one of those hypocrites who outwardly supports women and feminism in public… while terrorizing women in private.
His company distributed The Hunting Ground, a documentary about campus sexual assault. A longtime Democratic donor, he hosted a fund-raiser for Hillary Clinton in his Manhattan home last year. He employed Malia Obama, the oldest daughter of former President Barack Obama, as an intern this year, and recently helped endow a faculty chair at Rutgers University in Gloria Steinem’s name. During the Sundance Film Festival in January, when Park City, Utah, held its version of the nationwide women’s marches, Mr. Weinstein joined the parade.
It will be interesting to see which of the stars of his films – especially the female stars – will defend him.
We hope that other victims have the courage to step forward.