Ashley Judd sues Harvey Weinstein for defamation and sexual harassment

PBS 2015 Winter TCA

Actress Ashley Judd and her lawyers have filed a lawsuit today against disgraced movie producer Harvey Weinstein, claiming that he damaged her career by blocking her from getting major movie roles in retaliation for turning down his advances.

"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", said Judd's attorney. But Weinstein "torpedoed Ms. Judd's incredible professional opportunity", according to the complaint, by falsely telling Jackson that Judd was a "nightmare" who should be avoided "at all costs".

Judd is suing Weinstein for defamation and sexual harassment and for violating California's broadly written Unfair Competition law, which prohibits "unlawful, unfair and fraudulent business acts and practices".

Judd and Sorvino were among the first women to come forward with allegations of sexual harassment against Weinstein back in October 2017.

"It's very upsetting, you know", Judd told ABC.

The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, involves Jackson's "Lord of the Rings" films, the first of which was released in 2001.

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A representative for Weinstein issued a statement hours later saying the onetime film studio chieftain had "neither defamed Ms Judd nor ever interfered with Ms Judd's career".

The New Zealand director said he had no direct knowledge of sexual misconduct allegations against Weinstein, but that the producer pressured him not to hire Judd or Mira Sorvino.

In December, Jackson said Weinstein and his brother, Bob, were both particularly hard to work with. 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.

All money recovered in the lawsuit will be donated to a charity that benefits women and works to combat sexual harassment and discrimination, Judd said Monday.

"With those baseless smears, Weinstein succeeded in blacklisting Ms. Judd and destroying her ability to work on what became a multibillion-dollar franchise with 17 Academy Award wins and many more nominations", the suit states.

The suit is among many pending against Weinstein, 66, who is also under criminal investigation in Los Angeles and NY.

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