Ashley Judd sued Harvey Weinstein on Monday, saying the former movie mogul hurt her acting career in retaliation for her rejecting his sexual advances.
In the lawsuit filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, Judd accuses Weinstein of defamation, sexual harassment and violating California’s unfair competition law. Judd was in the first group of women who came forward last fall about Weinstein’s sexual misconduct, putting her at the forefront of the #MeToo movement.
Central to the suit is director Peter Jackson saying in December that Weinstein had warned him 20 years ago that Judd was a “nightmare” to work with, and should be avoided “at all costs.” Jackson was considering Judd for a major role in his “Lord of the Rings” movies, and had met with her about the role.
Weinstein’s company at the time, Miramax, then held the rights to “Lord of the Rings.”
About a year earlier at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills, Weinstein — in what was supposed to be a business breakfast meeting — appeared in a bathrobe, asked Judd to watch him shower and to let him massage her, the suit alleges. The allegations echo those Judd made in The New York Times in October.
“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,” the lawsuits says. “Weinstein responded: ‘When you get nominated.’ Ms. Judd held firm, saying, ‘No, when I win.’ And then she fled the scene.”
The suit says Weinstein lorded the Oscar statement over Judd for years afterward when he saw her in public.
Judd, 50, had no idea why she wasn’t cast in the “Lord of the Rings” films until Jackson came forward last year, the lawsuit says.