Ashley Judd has revealed that one super creepy Hollywood exec tried desperately to lure her to the casting couch, and her refusal has cost her roles.
The Divergent star said that she was the victim of some extreme sexual harassment, and even she, a woman educated in gender equality, feminism and overcoming sexual abuse, felt nearly powerless to stop it.
“I was sexually harassed by one of our industry’s most famous, admired-slash-reviled bosses,” Judd wrote in an essay for Variety’s Power of Women issue. “I was making Kiss the Girls at the time, and here I was, a declared feminist. I had completed a minor in what was then called women’s studies, which we now call gender 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.”
“He was very [stealthy] 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,” she said. “It went on in these stages. 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. There was this whole process of bargaining — ‘Come do this, come do this, come do this.’ And I would say, ‘No, no, no.’ I have a feeling if this is online and people have the opportunity to post comments, a lot of the people will say, ‘Why didn’t you leave the room?’ which is victim blaming. When I kept saying no to everything, there was a huge asymmetry of power and control in that room.”
Judd also said she is far from the only person the unnamed exec did this to, and that he used the exact same lines on other actors.
“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.’ 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.”
While some online have commented that if Judd does not name her harasser then it didn’t happen, that’s just another form of victim blaming. Sharing as much of the story as she did was quite brave — however, we hope someone else names and shames this guy so he can’t do it to any other women.