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Ashley Judd Says She Was Sexually Harassed By Famous Studio Executive

In this week's 'Variety', Ashley Judd reveals that she was once sexually harassed by a famous studio executive.

Judd does not name the executive but says she was filming 'Kiss the Girls' in the late 90s when the man from a rival studio approached her with advances.

"I was sexually harassed by one of our industry's most famous, admired-slash-reviled bosses...and here I was, a declared feminist," she says. "I had completed a minor in what was then called women's studies and yet I did not recognize at the time what was happening to me."

"It took years before I could evaluate that incident and realize that there was something incredibly wrong and illegal about it."

"In my example, there was no casting involved. He was very stealth and expert about it. He groomed me, which is a technical term – Oh, come meet at the hotel for something to eat. Fine, I show up. Oh, he's actually in his room. I'm like, Are you kidding me? I just worked all night. I'm just going to order cereal."

"It went on in these stages," she recalls. "It was so disgusting. He physically lured me by saying, 'Oh, help me pick out what I'm going to wear.' There was a lot that happened between the point of entry and the bargaining."

"The ultimate thing when I was weaseling out of everything else was, 'Will you watch me take a shower?' And all the other women, sitting around this table with me, said, 'Oh my god—that's what he said to me too,'" Judd says.

"In that moment, I told him something like, 'When I win an Academy Award in one of your movies.' He said, 'No, when you get nominated.' I said, 'No, no, when I win an Academy Award.' That was a small moment of power when I was able to contradict him and hold to my reality. And then I got out of there. And by the way, I've never been offered a movie by that studio. Ever."

Judd says years later, she was finally able to confront her offender.

"We internalize the shame. It really belongs to the person who is the aggressor. And so later, when I was able to see what happened, I thought: Oh god, that's wrong. That's sexual harassment. That's illegal."

"I was no longer that naïve person who couldn't identify what was happening as it was happening. I was getting ready to nail him on it, and he said, 'I think I'll let you out of that deal we made.' He knew I would come into my power."

"This happened to be a man who did this to a woman. But this system is one that all of us participate," she adds.

October 7, 2015 |

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