Judd alleges the disgraced movie mogul cost her a part in Peter Jackson’s blockbuster “Lord of the Rings” trilogy
Alleged serial predator Harvey Weinstein “torpedoed” Ashley Judd’s potential “Lord of the Rings” trilogy gig in the ’90s after she refused his sexual advances, the actress claimed in a new lawsuit this week.
“I lost career opportunity. I lost money. I lost status and prestige and power in my career as a direct result of having been sexually harassed, and rebuffing the sexual harassment,” Judd told ABC News in an interview Monday. “My career opportunities, after having been defamed by Harvey Weinstein, were significantly diminished. … My career was damaged because I rebuffed Mr. Weinstein’s sexual advances. I know it for a fact.”
Judd, one of the first women to publicly accuse Weinstein of sexual misconduct last year, alleges that the disgraced movie mogul disparaged her to “Lord of the Rings” director Peter Jackson and his production partner while she was in talks for a part circa 1998. Weinstein told them to avoid Judd “at all costs” because she was a “nightmare” to work with, according to the filing obtained and published by The Hollywood Reporter. The actress only learned of Weinstein’s alleged badmouthing this past December, she said, when Jackson accused Weinstein in an interview of mounting a smear campaign against Judd and other actresses.
These “baseless smears,” Judd’s attorney wrote, effectively blacklisted Judd and blocked her from working on the eventual Oscar-winning, multibillion-dollar franchise — as well as from future opportunities to work with Jackson and his partner, Fran Walsh.
“Through no fault of their own, Mr. Jackson and Ms. Walsh believed Weinstein — who was one of Hollywood’s most powerful film producers and distributors at the time — and Miramax, the company acting at his direction — and dropped their pursuit of Ms. Judd,” the suit alleged. “The pathetic reality, however, was that Weinstein was retaliating against Ms. Judd for rejecting his sexual demands approximately one year earlier, when he cornered her in a hotel room under the guise of discussing business.”
The actress, who is suing Weinstein for defamation, sexual harassment, intentional interference with prospective economic advantage and unfair competition in Los Angeles County Superior Court, told ABC News she would donate monetary damages to the Time’s Up legal defense fund.
“What I want is for Mr. Weinstein to be held accountable for his illegal conduct. … His behavior and his conduct (were) illegal,” Judd said. “And that accountability is not just for me, but it’s for all people who experience sexual harassment in the workplace with a particular — and this is really important in why this case is groundbreaking — emphasis on economic retaliation and damage to our careers over time.”
A rep for Weinstein, who has denied the many sexual assault allegations levied against him, blasted Judd’s lawsuit in a statement.
“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 spokesperson said. “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.”
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