When actress and activist Ashley Judd was debating whether to come forward with allegations that movie producer Harvey Weinstein had sexually harassed her, she had no idea whether anyone would care about or believe her accusations or similar ones from dozens of other women.
“I’m very blessed to be here,” Judd told Sawyer in her first television interview about her Weinstein allegations. “I made the most important decision I’ll ever make years ago, which is to turn my will and my life over to the care of a loving God, and it was like, ‘I’m so taken care of. I’m totally going to do this,’”
Judd said she also talked with her parents about going forward, and she said her mother, singer Naomi Judd, told her to “go get him.”
“Perpetrators are shameless,” Ashley Judd said. “And they put their toxic shame onto their victims, which we then internalize and carry around with us.”
Judd, 49, is one of more than 60 women who have come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against the movie mogul. Nearly 20 women allege the misconduct occurred in the late ‘90s around the same time Judd said she had an inappropriate encounter with him. Judd’s coming forward helped spark a conversation and an online campaign called, #MeToo, in which people used the hashtag to reveal they had been victims of sexual assault and sexual harassment, was shared millions of times on social media.
“Some of my friends have come forward, and some of them have not,” Judd said. “We have more #MeToo’s to help liberate others.”
Oscar winners Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow, Lupita Nyong’o and Mira Sorvino claimed that they rebuffed Weinstein’s unwanted advances. Other women have alleged sexual harassment, sexual assault and rape.
“I’m very sorry for Gwyneth,” Judd said. “I am delighted that she came forward. I think it’s incredibly powerful she did. At the time, I didn’t know that I knew anything.”
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Weinstein has denied all allegations. A spokesperson for the movie executive told The New Yorker: “Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein.”
“Mr. Weinstein has further confirmed that there were never any acts of retaliation against any women for refusing his advances. Mr. Weinstein obviously can’t speak to anonymous allegations, but with respect to any women who have made allegations on the record, Mr. Weinstein believes that all of these relationships were consensual,” according to the full statement from Weinstein’s spokesperson. “Mr. Weinstein has begun counseling, has listened to the community and is pursuing a better path. Mr. Weinstein is hoping that, if he makes enough progress, he will be given a second chance.”