What to Know
- Ashley Judd accuses Harvey Weinstein of defamation, sexual harassment and violating California's unfair competition law
- "What I want is for Mr. Weinstein to be held accountable for his illegal conduct," she told "GMA"
- Weinstein denies trying to derail Judd's career
Ashley Judd has sued Harvey Weinstein, saying the former movie mogul hurt her acting career in retaliation for her rejecting his sexual advances.
In the lawsuit filed Monday in Los Angeles County Superior Court, Judd accuses Weinstein of defamation, sexual harassment and violating California's unfair competition law.
"What I want is for Mr. Weinstein to be held accountable for his illegal conduct," she told ABC's "Good Morning America."
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Central to the lawsuit 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.
"I felt very sad when I heard that," she said of Jackson's comments. She told "GMA" that she had been under consideration for two roles and they went "poof" without explanation at the time.
"I was being maligned and defamed," she said.
About a year earlier, Weinstein — in what was supposed to be a business meeting — appeared to Judd in a bathrobe, asked her to watch him shower and to let him massage her, the suit alleges. The allegations are the same that Judd made in The New York Times in October.
Judd was in the first group of women who came forward last fall about Weinstein's sexual misconduct and has since been among the key faces of the #MeToo movement.
Weinstein has denied trying to derail Judd's career, and said he had no role in Jackson's casting.
In response to the lawsuit, a spokesperson for Harvey released the following statement to E! News:
"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. The actual facts will show that Mr. Weinstein was widely known for having fought for Ms. Judd as his first choice for the lead role in Good Will Hunting and, in fact, arranged for Ms. Judd to fly to New York to be considered for the role. Thereafter, Ms. Judd was hired for not one, but two of Mr. Weinstein's movies, Frida in 2002 and Crossing Over with Harrison Ford in 2009. We look forward to a vigorous defense of these claims."
The lawsuit goes beyond many sexual harassment suits by invoking unfair competition law in an attempt to "shine a light on the broader economic damages caused when individuals in positions of authority attempt to punish those who have resisted their improper advances," Judd's attorney Theodore J. Boutrous Jr. said in a statement.
Jackson, who also said Weinstein also warned him against casting Mira Sorvino, who has also alleged she is among Weinstein's victims. Jackson apologized for playing any unwitting role in the damage done to the women's careers, and the lawsuit is quick to absolve him of any wrongdoing.
The 50-year-old Judd said her ultimate goal is to encourage "safe and legal workplaces." She said it feels wonderful to take a stand on behalf of her "younger self."