April 30, 2018
Actor, writer, activist and humanitarian Ashley Judd today filed a lawsuit against producer Harvey Weinstein in the Superior Court of Los Angeles County, asserting claims for defamation, sexual harassment, interference with prospective economic advantage, and violations of California’s Unfair Competition Law. She seeks to vindicate her rights and the rights of others who have been denied economic opportunities because they resisted improper sexual advances by those in positions of power. Ms. Judd was one of the first women to come forward to expose Mr. Weinstein’s years-long pattern of harassing and abusive conduct toward women.
Ms. Judd’s claims arise from recent revelations by director Peter Jackson that he had been eager to cast Ms. Judd in the Lord of the Rings films until Mr. Weinstein and his studio, Miramax, fed him “false information” in a private meeting about Ms. Judd’s professionalism as an actor. Mr. Weinstein’s false statements about Ms. Judd came after Ms. Judd rejected Mr. Weinstein’s sexual advances during what had been falsely pitched to Ms. Judd as a professional breakfast meeting at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills.
Mr. Weinstein’s false statements to Mr. Jackson track other public accounts, detailed in the complaint, documenting a broader pattern of retaliation, defamation, and sabotage by Mr. Weinstein against actors who refused to go along with his sexual overtures. “Mr. Weinstein’s abusive conduct toward others has caused no end of damage to aspiring actors and others in the film and entertainment industry. As my experience and the experience of others shows, even a few false statements from Mr. Weinstein could destroy potentially career-changing professional opportunities,” said Ms. Judd. “It’s time that Mr. Weinstein be held accountable for that conduct and for the ways in which he’s damaged careers.”
Theodore J. Boutrous, Jr., a partner at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, which is representing Ms. Judd in this matter, remarked, “Our aim in bringing this suit is to hold Mr. Weinstein accountable for his retaliation against Ms. Judd, defamation of her business reputation, and interference with her career, and to shine a light on the broader economic damages caused when individuals in positions of authority attempt to punish those who have resisted their improper advances.”
Ms. Judd will donate any recovery in the lawsuit to a charity that benefits women and works to combat sexual harassment and discrimination. Gibson Dunn will also donate any recovery of attorney’s fees to charity.
Ms. Judd is represented in this matter by Theodore J. Boutrous, Jr., Theane Evangelis, Michael H. Dore, and Lauren M. Blas of the law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP.
Copies of the complaint are available here.