Superstar film producer and studio executive Harvey Weinstein, of The Weinstein Company, now has a slew of sexual harassment accusations against him: including one from Ashley Judd.
As part of a bombshell report in The New York Times, Judd went on the record that 20 years ago, Weinstein invited her to the Peninsula Beverly Hills hotel for what Judd thought would be a professional breakfast meeting.
Judd said she was shocked when Weinstein sent her up to his room instead. Judd said Weinstein appeared in a bathrobe, offered her a massage, and asked her if she wanted to watch him take a shower.
Judd said she remembered thinking: “How do I get out of the room as fast as possible without alienating Harvey Weinstein?”
In 2015, Judd told the story to Variety without revealing the name of the person:
"I was sexually harassed by one of our industry’s most famous, admired-slash-rivaled bosses ... He was very stealth and expert about it. He groomed me, which is a technical term – Oh, come meet at the hotel for something to eat. Fine, I show up. Oh, he’s actually in his room. I’m like, Are you kidding me? I just worked all night. I'm just going to order cereal. It went on in these stages. It was so disgusting. He physically lured me by saying, 'Oh, help me pick out what I’m going to wear.' There was a lot that happened between the point of entry and the bargaining. There was this whole process of bargaining—'Come do this, come do this, come do this.' And I would say, 'No, no, no.'"
Judd told the Times that she felt "panicky, trapped," and said if Weinstein wanted to touch her, she would have to win an Oscar for one of his movies first.
“There’s a lot on the line, the cachet that came with Miramax," Judd told the Times. Years later, Judd appeared in two more Weinstein films, but said Weinstein didn't harass her again.
As the cofounder of Miramax Films and The Weinstein Company, Weinstein has had a huge influence on Hollywood and the entertainment industry. Some of his influential movies have won the Oscar for best picture of the year, like “Shakespeare in Love“ and “The King’s Speech.” Movies he produced like “Pulp Fiction,” "Clerks," "Good Will Hunting,” and “Scream” are huge staples in popular culture that live on to this day. He’s also been an executive producer for television shows, including “Project Runway” on Lifetime.
Judd said that "women have been talking about Harvey amongst ourselves for a long time, and it's simply beyond time to have the conversation publicly."
The New York Times investigation found undisclosed allegations against Weinstein spanning almost thirty years, highlighting "a common narrative."