Ashley Judd was one of the first women to speak out against Hollywood mega producer Harvey Weinstein when The New York Times broke the sexual assault story earlier this month on October 5. Now the actor is speaking on camera for the first time since the story went public, telling Diane Sawyer about the terror she felt at the hands of one of the most powerful men in Hollywood.
Speaking with Sawyer, Judd revealed that her assault at the hands of Weinstein took place in the early days of her career, with the newly minted Hollywood actress not receiving any warning from any colleagues about meeting privately with the successful producer at a hotel for a business meeting. “I had no warning. I remember the lurch when I went to the desk and I said, ‘Mr Weinstein, is he on the patio?’ Then said he’s in his room. I was like, ugh. You’re kidding me.”
— Good Morning America (@GMA) October 26, 2017
Judd said that Weinstein asked her to give him a massage, then offered to give her a massage, a tactic that the public now knows was a pattern, thanks to the 60 women who have come forward with allegations of sexual assault and harassment. “There’s this constant grooming and negotiating going on. I thought no meant no.”
Judd says that the floor plan of the hotel room is still embedded in her mind, with the actor feeling trapped in the hallway between the door and the bathroom as Weinstein demanded she watch him shower.
She was finally able to escape the hotel room by telling Weinstein she would return once she won an Oscar in one of his films, a move she says fills her partly with shame, but on the other hand was necessary to escape.
Following the traumatic incident, Judd told her parents as well as other actors and agents, with people largely turning a blind eye to her experience. “I wish I could prevent it for anyone always. I don’t know that I would have been believed. Who was I to tell? I knew it was disgusting. Was I going to tell the concierge who sent me up to the room?”
The hashtag #MeToo, started by actor Alyssa Milano has gone viral, with women showing solidarity that they too have been victims of sexual assault and harassment. “I didn’t expect that I would feel tearful, but it’s been an absolutely tremendously moving two and a half or three weeks,” Judd told Sawyer on Good Morning America.
Judd said that faith from her religion, as well as support from her father and famous mother, Naomi Judd, gave her the strength to go public with her story. “I talked with my mom and I told her what I was thinking and she said, ‘Go get him.'”