Judd contends that Weinstein smeared her reputation to director Peter Jackson, causing him not to cast her in “The Lord of the Rings.”
“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. “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.”
Judd is seeking damages for defamation, sexual harassment and violations of California’s unfair business competition law.
Judd first revealed that she had been harassed by an unnamed studio mogul to Variety in 2015. She later identified the mogul as Weinstein to the New York Times. According to Judd, Weinstein invited her to his hotel room and tried to get her to watch him take a shower.
Last winter, Jackson gave an interview in which he said that Miramax had warned him not to hire Mira Sorvino or Ashley Judd for “The Lord of the Rings.” Weinstein denied playing any role in the casting of the film.
Judd’s attorney, Theodore Boutrous of Gibson Dunn, said that any recovery from the suit would be donated to a charity that benefits women.
Update: Weinstein’s spokesman responds.
“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. The actual facts will show that Mr. Weinstein was widely known for having fought for Ms. Judd as his first choice for the lead role in Good Will Hunting and, in fact, arranged for Ms. Judd to fly to New York to be considered for the role. Thereafter, Ms. Judd was hired for not one, but two of Mr. Weinstein’s movies, ‘Frida’ in 2002 and ‘Crossing Over’ with Harrison Ford in 2009. We look forward to a vigorous defense of these claims.”
Subscribe to Variety Newsletters and Email Alerts!