Ashley Judd has sued disgraced mogul Harvey Weinstein for what the actress says was irreparable damage to her career.
Filed Monday in Los Angeles County, Judd is claiming defamation, sexual harassment and a violation of California’s fair business laws. The actress says Weinstein poisoned her reputation with director Peter Jackson, prohibiting a possible casting in his blockbuster “Lord of the Rings” films.
The fantasy franchise has earned nearly $3 billion worldwide, per Forbes.
“Weinstein torpedoed Ms. Judd’s incredible professional opportunity when he told Mr. Jackson … the studio had had a ‘bad experience’ with Ms. Judd, and that Ms. Judd was a ‘nightmare’ to work with and should be avoided ‘at all costs,'” attorneys for Judd said in the filing obtained by TheWrap.
“With those baseless smears, Weinstein succeeded in blacklisting Ms. Judd and destroying her ability to work on what became a multi-billion-dollar franchise with 17 Academy Award wins and many more nominations. He also effectively blocked Ms. Judd from future opportunities to work,” the statement continued.
A rep for Weinstein did not immediately comment on the matter.
“Mr. Weinstein’s abusive conduct toward others has caused no end of damage to aspiring actors and others in the film and entertainment industry,” Judd said in a separate statement.
“As my experience and the experience of others shows, even a few false statements from Mr. Weinstein could destroy potentially career-changing professional opportunities. It’s time that Mr.n Weinstein be held accountable for that conduct and for the ways in which he’s damaged careers,” she concluded.
Judd was the first actress to be named on the record with her account of Weinstein’s widely alleged predation over the decades. Speaking with the now-Pulitzer Prize winning team at the New York Times, Judd described an incident in the ’90s where Weinstein asked to massage him in a hotel room and pressured her to watch him shower during a meeting.
She said she remembered thinking: “How do I get out of the room as fast as possible without alienating Harvey Weinstein?”
The Times report said other accusers generally received between $80,000 and $150,000 in payouts each to make accusations go away. Judd was not one of the women who received a settlement, the report said.
Weinstein has consistently denied any instance of nonconsensual sex. In the subsequent time since the article’s publication, Judd has been a prominent face of the #MeToo and Time’s Up equity movements.
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.