Monday 16 September 2019

Ashley Judd speaks for first time since accusing Harvey Weinstein of harassment

She said she struck a deal with him to escape his advances.

Emporio Armani Show – London Fashion Week
Emporio Armani Show – London Fashion Week

By Laura Harding, Press Association Senior Entertainment Correspondent

Ashley Judd has spoken for the first time since she accused Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment, saying she tried to bargain with the producer so she could escape his hotel room.

The actress was one of the first high profile women to make allegations against the mogul, opening the floodgates for more than 60 others to come forward.

In an interview with Diane Sawyer on US network ABC, Judd said she went to a hotel in 1997 for what she thought was a breakfast meeting with Weinstein.

Once in the room, the actress said he began pressuring her to give and receive massages and to watch him shower.

She said: “There’s this constant grooming, negotiation going on. I thought no meant no. I fought with this volley of nos, which he ignored.

“Maybe he heard them as maybe, maybe he heard them as yeses. Maybe they turned him on.”

In a bid to get out of the bathroom, Judd said she resorted to striking a deal with him.

She told Sawyer: “He just kept coming at me with all this other stuff. Finally, I just said ‘When I win an Oscar in one of your movies, OK?’

“He said ‘When you get nominated’. I said ‘No, when I win an Oscar’. And then I just fled.”

She added: “I think, you know, am I proud of that? I’m of two minds. The part that shames myself says no. The part of me that understands the way shame works says ‘that was absolutely brilliant, good job, kid. You got out of there. Well done’.”

“It’s a very important word, shame, and it’s a very important thing to talk about, so we all do the best we can and our best is good enough. And it’s really okay to have responded however we responded.”

Judd said nobody had ever warned her about Weinstein before she went for the meeting, but said: “I remember the lurch when I went to the (hotel) desk and I said, ‘Mr Weinstein, is he on the patio?’ And they said ‘He’s in his room’, and I was like ‘Oh, you’re kidding me?'”

She told Sawyer she went up to his room because they had a business appointment, adding: “Which is his pattern of sexual predation, that was how he rolled.”

Judd said she wished she could “go back with a magic wand, I wish I could prevent it for anyone, always.”

She added: “I don’t know that I would have been believed and who was I to tell? I knew it was disgusting. Was I going to tell the concierge who sent me up to the room?”

Questioned about a photograph of Judd and Weinstein at an Oscar party after the meeting, obtained from Weinstein’s team, the actress denied it proves they were on friendly terms.

She said: “No. That’s deny, attack, reverse the order of offender and victim.”

In another photo from that same party, Weinstein is pictured holding Judd’s hand. She said: “I hoped I didn’t pass him, but I did, and he obviously grabbed my hand.

“The look on my face is abject terror. I can see it in my eyes. It’s very gross. It’s very gross. I feel for that 28, 29-year-old woman.”

PA Media

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