Ashley Judd’s Sexual Harassment Claim Against Harvey Weinstein was Dismissed in California District Court
U.S. District Judge Philip S. Gutierrez in California has dismissed Ashley Judd’s claim of sexual harassment in her lawsuit against disgraced former mega-producer Harvey Weinstein. But the judge also said Judd can pursue her accusation that Weinstein tried to ruin her career after she rejected his advances.
Weinstein is facing charges of five counts of rape and sexual assault at a trial in New York later this year. Dozens of women have accused Weinstein of rape and sexual misconduct that allegedly took place over decades. Weinstein has said his encounters were consensual and that he never sexually assaulted anyone.
The California Federal Judge granted a motion from Weinstein’s defense team to dismiss the harassment portion of Judd’s lawsuit, agreeing that at the time of the alleged offense, the law cited in the suit did not cover producers such as Weinstein. This seems like a big win for Weinstein on it’s face, but in reality it is not; instead it is more of a headline grabber, although it may be a small blow to the #MeToo Movement in Hollywood.
Gutierrez said Judd can continue with the part of her lawsuit that accuses Weinstein of sabotaging her job chances for blockbuster projects such as Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings films. The Judge did go on to say he “is not determining whether Plaintiff was sexually harassed in the colloquial sense of the term,” but only whether the incident fell under the scope of the statute her lawsuit cited. Judd’s claims for defamation remain in the suit and she can assert that the sexual harassment was part of the defamation and tortious interference with her career. Unfortunately, she cannot pursue the strict case for sexual harassment.
Judd’s lawsuit claims that she met with the Weinstein in late 1996 or early 1997, when he invited her to a breakfast meeting at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills.
The actress was hoping the “evaluative” meeting would cement her chances of landing big film roles — but when she arrived at the hotel, her lawsuit states, Weinstein was waiting for her in a bathrobe. He allegedly then asked to give her a massage and asked her to watch him take a shower. In an attempt to leave the room, Judd says, she made a “mock bargain” with Weinstein, “suggesting that she would consider letting him touch her only if she won an Academy Award in one of his films.”
Judd says the producer repeatedly reminded her of that “little deal” — and that he also badmouthed her to Jackson.
Despite “serious discussions to play a major role in the Lord of the Rings trilogy,” court documents state, Judd wasn’t cast in the film. Judd says she didn’t learn of a possible reason until 2017, when Jackson said in an interview that Weinstein had told him Judd was “a nightmare to work with” who should be avoided “at all costs.”
If you believe that you have been subjected to any Sexual Harassment in the workplace, I can help you.
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