Ashley Judd is suing for damages.
In a lawsuit filed on Monday in a Santa Monica, Calif., court, Judd claims Harvey Weinstein held her back in her career by telling directors not to cast her in their movies after she refused his sexual advances. Specifically, the lawsuit alleges that Weinstein told Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh, his production partner, that Judd was a “nightmare” to work with and she should be avoided “at all costs.”
News of the alleged blacklisting of Judd and fellow actress Mira Sorvino first broke in Dec. 2017, when Jackson told Stuff, a publication in New Zealand, that Weinstein had warned him away from the actresses, both of whom have now accused Weinstein of sexual harassment. Jackson said that at the time he had no reason to be skeptical about Weinstein’s comments, but he now believes it was “the Miramax smear campaign in full swing.” He also said that both actresses’ names were removed from the casting list as a “direct result” of the conversation with Weinstein.
A spokesperson for Weinstein said in a statement that a “basic investigation of the facts” would reveal that Weinstein acted as Judd’s champion rather than her detractor. The spokesperson cited Weinstein’s advocacy for Judd to play the lead role in Good Will Hunting and the fact that he cast her in two subsequent movies as evidence that he was not acting against her best interest.
On Twitter, Judd said any compensation won through the lawsuit would go to the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund in order to help other American workers who face harassment and discrimination at work.
Actresses Reese Witherspoon and Amber Tamblyn and activist Tarana Burke tweeted their support for Judd.