Actress and activist Ashley Judd has filed a lawsuit against Harvey Weinstein for sexual harassment and damaging her career. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Judd claims in her lawsuit that the disgraced movie producer "badmouthed her to filmmaker Peter Jackson and cost her a role in the Lord of the Rings trilogy" after she rejected his sexual advances.
The 50-year-old actress says she was up for two roles in the J.R.R. Tolkien film adaptations when Weinstein told Jackson that Judd was "a 'nightmare' to work with and should be avoided at 'at all costs.'"
"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 statement, according to Variety. "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. Weinstein be held accountable for that conduct and for the ways in which he's damaged careers."
A representative for Weinstein denied the claims. “The most basic investigation of the facts will reveal that Mr. Weinstein neither defamed Ms. Judd nor ever interfered with Ms. Judd’s career, and instead not only championed her work but also repeatedly approved her casting for two of his movies over the next decade,” they said, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Judd was one of the first of more than 70 women to come forward with sexual harassment and abuse allegations against Weinstein. She claims that in 1997 at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills, Weinstein "appeared in a bathrobe [and] asked Judd to watch him shower and to let him massage her," according to the Associated Press.
Judd is suing Weinstein for defamation, sexual harassment, intentional interference with prospective economic advantage, and unfair competition. In addition to this lawsuit, Weinstein is under four active criminal investigations in New York, Los Angeles, and London.