Ashley Judd was one of the first actresses to publicly accuse Harvey Weinstein of harassment in a damning New York Times exposé, now she’s speaking out about the story that has prompted dozens of other women to come forward.
“It’s been an absolutely, tremendously moving two-and-a-half or three weeks,” she said in an interview with ABC News’s Diane Sawyer. “I talked with my dad and I talked with my mom and told them I was thinking [about speaking out] and she said, ‘Go get him.’ ”
The 49-year-old actress spoke candidly in her first television interview since the report, and opened up about the business meeting with Weinstein at his Peninsula Beverly Hills hotel room two decades ago that she says resulted in her repeatedly having to fend off his advances.
“I thought no meant no,” she said after alleging that Weinstein appeared in a bathrobe, asked to give her a massage and told her to watch him shower.
“I fought with this volley of ‘no’s’ which he ignored. Who knows, maybe he heard them as maybe. Maybe he heard them as ‘yes’s.’ Maybe they turned him on. I don’t know.”
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Judd recalled how she got herself out of the situation by promising she’s help him pick out his suit for the day, “When I win an Oscar in one of your movies.”
“He’s like, ‘Yeah, when you get nominated.’ I said, ‘No! When I win an Oscar.’ And then I just fled.’ ”
In response to the lengthy allegations made against Weinstein, a spokesperson for the movie mogul said, “Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein.”
In June 1999, Judd said, Weinstein brought up their encounter in the hotel room.
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“[He said], ‘Remember that little agreement we made. Think I got that script for you. Hey, just looking around for the material,’ ” Judd said.
She said that comment was her breaking point.
“I was coming right at him … He looked at me and he said, ‘You know, Ashley, I’m gonna let you out of that little agreement we made. And I said, ‘You do that, Harvey. You do that.’ ”
She later made two movies at Weinstein’s studio but said she rarely saw the producer.
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Since Judd’s comments, 65-year-old Weinstein as been in the midst of an ongoing sexual harassment and abuse scandal with more actresses including Cara Delevingne, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Angelina Jolie speaking out against Weinstein’s alleged behavior.
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In the bombshell Times report earlier this month, eight women accused him of acting inappropriately. The paper also reported that Weinstein reached private settlements with eight women, including actress Rose McGowan. In accounts in the New York Times, the New Yorker and elsewhere, more than 40 women have spoken out against the producer, with allegations including rape, forced oral sex, groping and harassment.
Judd told Sawyer that Weinstein should face jail time “if he’s a rapist.” And Judd said that although she will never forgive Weinstein for what he did to his alleged victims, she wants him to get help.
“What I would say to Harvey is, ‘I love you and I understand that you are sick and suffering and there is help for a guy like you too,’ ” she told Sawyer. ” ‘It’s entirely up to you to get that help.’ “