Ashley Judd Reveals Sexual Harassment by Studio Mogul (EXCLUSIVE)

Ashley Judd Sexual Harassment Hollywood
Jim Smeal/BEI/REX Shutterstock

As part of this week’s Variety Power of Women issue, Ashley Judd shared a story that she’s never publicly revealed before. When she was filming Paramount’s “Kiss the Girls” in the late 90s, Judd was sexually harassed by a mogul from a rival studio, who kept summoning her to his hotel room under the pretense of talking about roles in his movies. The situation escalated until the mogul, who Judd declined to name, tried to get Judd to watch him take a shower. Judd spoke to Variety about what happened, how she internalized the shame and eventually stood up for herself.

Ashley Judd: I was sexually harassed by one of our industry’s most famous, admired-slash-reviled bosses. 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. And I think that’s what’s happening in Hollywood with regard to female crew members, above-the-line and below-the-line talent, and pay disparity. We’re individually and collectively coming to a realization and acceptance that this is an entrenched part of the reality, and I think that talking about it is essential to the process of becoming aware, accepting that this is reality and then ultimately taking action.

In my example, there was no casting involved. This was just twirling the lasso. I think it’s very important to note that I considered myself empowered. 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. 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.

This will be familiar to all the women to whom this has happened. I have a feeling we are a legion. I was with a bunch of other actors, and it was critical that it was actors: The exact same thing had happened to them by the exact same mogul. Only when we were sitting around talking about it did we realize our experiences were identical. There was a mutual strengthening and fortification of our resolve. One of the things that comes to mind for me: there was a really big feature that was done on this person in a national magazine, and there were all these allegations that they controlled the interview and had people listening in. And I thought, “If someone had come and talked to me, I don’t care. I will absolutely share that experience.” Part of the strategy that keeps girls and women constrained in their professional experiences is retaliation and ridicule.

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.

I beat myself up for a while. This is another part of the process. 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 really hard on myself because I didn’t get out of it by saying, “OK motherf—er, I’m calling the police.”

That’s what I should have done, because I’m smart. That also contributed to my journey of coming forward, because I felt bad about myself initially for the way I maintained my safety and got out of the room. When, in fact, what I did was exceedingly clever and brilliant and self-preserving. That’s another element of how we internalize those attitudes and talking to other people is so crucial is being able to take action.

A few years later, I attended a gathering for the literati in New York at the premiere of “Double Jeopardy.” I was getting ready to say something out loud across the crowded table to him. He looked at me and tried to shut it down. I was no longer that naïve ingénue 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. I feel like I could have easily had a breakthrough conversation about what happened with men as I could with those women. We’re all part of the problem, but we’re all part of the solution. This is one of those incidents where any work I needed to do on it was completed when I confronted him. Healing comes in a lot of different ways. Some things require intensive, contained work. Some things could be resolved with a good run or punching bag or an interaction with the perpetrator, in which one is able to take one’s power back.

Note: This interview has been edited and condensed.

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  1. Kala says:

    Why didn’t she report it then?? She must have gotten the part.

  2. Janice McCamey says:

    Most ridiculous thing I’ve ever read or heard a woman say that she had shame and it haunted her over a man hitting on you. My Lord, if every woman had a meltdown over every man that hit on her, the insane asylums would be overflowing. OMG grow up!! That’s what men do is try and we say no, or yes. I used to be a BIG fan of you, but NO MORE after seeing you with your rants about feminism…youre sickening. I still love your mother and sister though.

  3. Jo Jett says:

    SO BRAVE!!! We are behind you and hear you!! Jo

  4. DIA SCDER says:


  5. Karen Jane says:

    I’m sorry. was she physically touched or raped? She does not say that. She says a man in power hit on her. Asked her to watch him shower. BIG DEAL. And then she goes on to talk about the SHAME blah blah blah. Well Ashley, why aren’t you naming names? Maybe you DID voluntarily screw him to get what you wanted then felt shame. Otherwise, I do not understand why you seem so “damaged” because a man hit on you. You need some serious counseling.

  6. AshleyJudded says:

    He fu¢ked her for enjoyment. She fu¢ked him for money and opportunity. She had her fun under the sun and after a few years, when she is alone, she screamed harassment and had everybody notice her again, just so that she could be famous again!

  7. Roberto says:

    I’m a tad confused, I see Ms. Judd at all the Wildcats basketball games and I’m sure a contributor to the program. But correct me please, but wasn’t that school the one that lost UTEP, an all black starting team? While her “beloved” Kentucky school didn’t allow blacks on team. She wants to bring up racism? Also how much money is her “beloved” school’s athletic program garnering while the same could help our inner city public schools?

  8. Kyle says:

    I think feminist may very well be mentally ill. No matter how insignificant the issue is, they are always a “victim”. Pretty sure that unless you were 12 years old, no crime happened. If you don’t want to have sex with someone, or anything else with them, a simple no thank you and leaving would suffice.
    Yeah, I’m “blaming the victim” by suggesting what a 12 year old should know.

  9. Sophie says:

    I’ve always admired Ashley Judd. There’s a depth to her, and lack of being overly narcissistic which is uncommon in Hollywood.

  10. Ronnie Bishop says:

    Ive always admired the Judd family. In fact I talked my youngest daughter out of moving to LA and persue A career in acting. Because of Ashley Judd. And other things I knew was going on. I’ve been around Show business all my life. However, never put yourself in a situation that’s hard to get out of. Some women will do anything for a part in a picture. So some men expect it. Like in the God Father that line. She was the greatest piece of ads I’ve ever had. So it’s confusing.

  11. H. says:

    “Come up to my hotel room.”

    “No thanks, I’ll wait for you in the lobby.”

    I mean – duh!

  12. Principessa says:

    Looks like the Variety mods don’t like clicky links in the comments – heaven forbid we should leave the site – so my link to Bill Clinton’s 30+ year history of rape and sexual violence was deleted after a few days. So, google “Bill Clinton” and “Free Republic” and it will probably be the first link that comes up. It’s eye-opening. Like, Bill Cosby level bad stuff.

  13. fais says:

    after reading all the comments here i am truly surprised, i would think a sane person would come out with at least few lessons 1- to raise our children *’ girls in particular ‘with enough knowledge to deal with situations and not just through them in the sea and hope for the best
    2- professionals with leading roles in any industry are not above suspicions , there are some that doesnt have a shred of humanity or ethics .
    as for the comments that questioned the motive behind coming out now just to publicize a new movie , or faltering A.J for not shaming him on the spot or coming out at the time i just want to say this :
    1- everyone of us made mistakes and have that moment that they wish to go back in time to say what they couldnt say back then for any given reason which could be someone ending your career before it even start
    2- ” take the wisdom where ever u find it ” thats an old saying so regardless of the motive behind publishing at this moment, one should seek the lessons even from the darkest story , unless u are a detective on a case or an old school journalist that seeks the truth or even if the story contradicts a belief of yours then u have a reason to dig question etc etc but within a respectful manner that doesnt blame or accuse but to get to the truth.
    3-we should encourage people that come forward to share their experiences , moments of weakness against those who try to exploit our needs or wants , its like falling in a hole then getting out after a struggle and lay a sign that says (BE Careful ditch ahead ).

  14. Marina says:

    Well, it wasn’t the Oscar she was hoping for, but Ashley Judd did win an award this weekend and she didn’t have to watch anybody take a shower to get it:

  15. Sasha says:

    Look I got to say…she went along with it a bit,even bartering she wkd watch himhim if he gave her a movie .I got hit on often w the casting xcouchiuch and told memen where to go straight away. This is the story of a girl who said yes,not no. I bet she slept with other directors producers.

  16. Paris says:

    Of course, this revealed because she has a movie coming out.

  17. Principessa says:

    I’m running out of steam on this thread, believe it or not, but I want to state something that I believe in my heart and soul, and I have believed in it for a long time.

    You know that expression “Evil flourishes when good men stand by and do nothing?”

    Well what enrages me about this situation is that evil has flourished when a self-styled “feminist” and advocate for oppressed females, stood by and did nothing.

    Yes, I mean Ashley Judd.

    Read the interview carefully. She praises herself to high heaven (which in any context would be unseemly and immodest, but given the facts in evidence here – most of which were provided by her – it’s downright shameful if not disgusting).

    But what did she actually DO? At every moment when she had a choice to shame this man, to hold him accountable, to prevent him from doing this to another woman – in other words, to be brave and do the right thing – she completely failed to do so.

    That “confrontation” at the literati event two years after this hotel incident? That wasn’t a confrontation. She didn’t say a word. She just gives herself credit that maybe she was GOING to, and somehow this made her powerful?

    So this is what I passionately believe. Every time a man gets away with beating, raping, or sexually harrassing a women, he is emboldened to do it again. He is much more LIKELY to do it again. It’s Pavlovian – positive reinforcement for his bad behavior. He gets his jollies (be they sexual or just emotionally sadistic, or a combination of the two) AND he has no negative consequences. Why WOULDN’T he repeat the behavior?

    When a “victim” is silent, she is complicit in future bad acts.

    THAT. I believe.

    Every single woman who has posted on this thread that she was a victim of sexual harrassment, sexual assault, or violence from a man … has said that she did nothing about it. Every one of you has excuses for why you did nothing. So does Ashley Judd.

    And most of the other women posting on here have given these victims a pass. Virtual hugs and warm fuzzies all around.

    That is not feminism. That is wallowing in your status as victims. That’s not a healthy place to be.

    Sure, it might have cost you greatly to speak up. But doing the right thing doesn’t always come cheap.

    And if everybody who was a victim screamed to high heaven 20 years ago, there would be fewer victims today, and we might not be having this conversation in 2015.

  18. A desperate attempt for an actress who hasn’t worked in years to get some press. VERY sad!

    • Max Borg says:

      “Hasn’t worked in years”?

      Dude, she appears in 2-3 movies per year on average…

    • Sam says:

      I agree in part now, but it’s easier said than done. At the time — in the early 90s — women were still not believed when something like this happened, and had she come forward — like Monica Lewinsky, or Anita Hill, or ultimately the dead Nicole Brown Simpson — it would have been pooh-poohed and she would have been told just to shut up. We live in a totally different world now, which is why she (and the Cosby victims) can finally come forward. A victim has to wait until the rest of society catches up. It’s that simple.

      • Principessa says:

        But Sam, she *hasn’t* come forward. She’s 47 years old, it’s 18 years after this alleged incident, and she’s still not naming names. How is that coming forward?

        And a *brave* victim comes forward anyway, and pushes society into advancing. Otherwise she’s just perpetuating the problem.

        Some women over time have done that. Sometimes at great personal cost. Those women I salute. Ashley Judd? Not exactly a role model – then or now.

  19. Susan says:

    And yet she still doesn’t name him. So he can keep doing the same thing to more young women. I’m failing to see how that is either brave or feminist.

    • Principessa says:

      Even if she named him now, she gave him an extra 18 years to prey on women. And she’s not going to name him now. She gets all the credit for being “brave” while not actually risking any Hollywood backlash from the power brokers.

      • Faustian Bargain says:

        Hollywood needs to stop being hypocritical about protecting their abusers/monsters while making holier-than-thou movies scolding and mocking those with traditional values. They also need to lay off their moralizing about gun control until they stop glorifying gun violence for lucre.

  20. Principessa Ruth says:

    Trust me, the power dynamic in that room was tilted toward the man because Ashley Judd was not that well-regarded as an actress. At the time that Ashley Judd was engaging in sleazy, desperate negotiations with this man to get a role, he was probably desperately courting Gwyneth Paltrow for “Shakespeare in Love” and let me tell you, he wasn’t pulling the casting couch routine with Gwyneth. Because she had actual power in Hollywood. The best actresses do. Because they can make or break a film. Ashley Judd never had that kind of power. She’s never been in a film where her role couldn’t have been played just as well (or better) by any of a number of other actresses.

    Bottom line … these “moguls” are businessmen first, sexual harrassers second. They’re not going to go casting second-rate actresses in films in which they’ve invested tens of millions of their own – and investors’ – dollars. They’re going to do everything they can to cast an actress who will elevate the film, sell more tickets, and earn the film Oscars. Don’t forget, an Oscar for a lead actress is also prestige and money in the bank for the producer.

    So, if you look at it in terms of money … nothing Ashley Judd could do, even if she had a magic vagina, could have persuaded that man to give her a leading role in one of his films if he didn’t think it would be to his advantage professionally to do so.

    Yeah, what he did to Ashley Judd was sleazy. He disrespected her, and I cringe at the thought of her, even all these years later, somehow thinking she was “brave” to “own her truth” and negotiate for an Oscar win, not just a nomination. He must have thought she was a complete idiot.

    She was never going to get a film offer from him. Because he didn’t respect her as an actress. And after her behavior in his hotel room, he didn’t respect her as a person either.

  21. i dont think you can call the police for sexual harassment. and also i do kind of wonder why she didnt leave the room – no victim blaming just wondering.

    • Jb says:

      Is sexual harassment illegal?

      Harassment is a criminal charge, and if the victim presses criminal charges, the person doing the harassing may face jail time. The amount of jail time, probation or community service the convicted harasser receives is based on whether the harassment was a misdemeanor or a felony and in what state the crime was committed.

      So, in effect, it depends on what actually took place and in what jurisdiction. That’s US law.

      In other countries like France and Canada sexual harassment falls under sex discrimination which is illegal.

      • principessa says:

        JujuBe considering that everything you posted about sexual harassment being a crime was factually incorrect I’d say I didn’t just ” try” to win the argument. Which you now call a non-argument, which I’ll take as your concession speech.

        And yes we are different kinds of feminists. You are a victim who excuses other victims because that is the sad state of today’s brand of feminism. No real empowerment just excuses and warm fuzzies.

        The kind of feminist I am is someone who doesn’t think of herself as a feminist but gets on with life and takes responsibility for both my failures and my successes. An honors graduate of a top ivy league school where I sat side by side with men and thought of them as peers and classmates before I judged them for having penises. a successful self-employed woman in a male dominated industry who has more than held my own and who has never once been sexually harassed. You would call that luck of course since modern feminists never own the role they pay in their own abuse.

        Having said that I do believe there are hostile work environments and I do believe there are women who experience harassment through no fault of their own. Ashley Judd’s situation is not one of those cases. And in any event her conduct during, and since that incident, has been cowardly and self-serving.

      • Jb says:

        Good for you!!

      • Principessa says:

        Ah, Jelly Belly, you’ve just proved three things:

        (a) you know how to google “sexual harrasment” and “crime” and cut and paste text from the first link you find.

        (b) you don’t understand the difference between something that is illegal and something that is a crime. some things are illegal but not crimes, some things are neither, and some things are both.

        (c) you’re not a lawyer either.

        In fact, you should have drilled a bit deeper before excitedly posting that sexual harrassment is a crime.

        Sexual harrassment, by itself, may be ILLEGAL but it is not a CRIME. Sexual harrassment can only be prosecuted criminally if it also contains an independent criminal component, such as sexual assault, rape, assault & battery, or false imprisonment.

        Also – sigh – people always make this mistake. Victims cannot press criminal charges. Only prosecutors can press criminal charges. A victim can only file a complaint with the prosecutor’s office. It’s up to the district attorney to decide whether to file a criminal case based on that complaint.

        A victim may, of course, if (s)he can find an attorney to handle her complaint, file a civil suit against the alleged perpetrator, as long as the statute of limitations in the relevant jurisdiction has not expired. That civil suit would be, in most cases, for monetary compensation.

        In the case of Ashley Judd’s experience, it’s debatable whether this is illegal sexual harrassment at all.

        Assuming she had attempted to sue The Mogul 18 years ago when this incident allegedly happened and it was still within the statute of limitations … before any lawyer took her case, the lawyer would look at all of the circumstances and assess whether a jury would vote to award her damages. Keep in mind, Jim Beam, that in this country you need at least 9 jurors out of 12 who agree on a verdict in a civil trial.

        That’s tough to get in cases much less ambiguous than this one.

        In this particular case the waters are muddied by the fact that Ashley Judd was no “naive ingenue” but rather a successful Hollywood veteran approaching the age of 30; she voluntarily made repeated visits to his hotel room; she engaged in negotiations to exchange sexual favors for an Oscar; she did not have a business relationship with him; he would probably be able to hire much more expensive lawyers than she would, who would spin this as a social occasion and not a job interview; he never touched her, he never exposed himself to her … she was free to leave at any time and the only thing that kept her in the room was her naked ambition.

        How sympathetic do you think a jury would be to THAT set of facts. Especially after his lawyers put their spin on it?

        So, it’s really great that you know how to press “search” on the main google page but – FAIL.

      • Jb says:

        I still don’t get your point other than to try and win a non argument. But I will say I am proud to be a feminist (my definition must be different from yours) and am certainly not interested in crucifying anyone. This mogul will bring himself down. He doesn’t need my help.

    • Principessa Ruth says:

      Carla you’re absolutely right. I think people on this thread are confusing “sexual harassment” with “sexual assault.” The former could result in a civil suit (suing for $$$) – the latter in criminal charges (potential jail time).

      • Principessa says:

        blue439 said: [“… In this particular case the waters are muddied by the fact that Ashley Judd was no “naive ingenue” but rather a successful Hollywood veteran approaching the age of 30…” Definitely an untrue statement. Kiss the Girls was Ashley Judd’s FIRST starring role in a Hollywood movie. She’d only had leads in indie movies and supporting parts in Hollywood movies previously. She was not “a successful Hollywood veteran” at the time.]

        So in your world the only people who are successful Hollywood veterans are people who have STARRED in a major Hollywood movie? The only people who *aren’t* “naive ingenues” are major stars? The only people in Hollywood who might have experienced sexual harrassment and might, as a result, know better, are STARS? Your thinking is breathtakingly illogical.

      • blue439 says:

        “… In this particular case the waters are muddied by the fact that Ashley Judd was no “naive ingenue” but rather a successful Hollywood veteran approaching the age of 30…” Definitely an untrue statement. Kiss the Girls was Ashley Judd’s FIRST starring role in a Hollywood movie. She’d only had leads in indie movies and supporting parts in Hollywood movies previously. She was not “a successful Hollywood veteran” at the time.

    • Principessa says:

      you know what? it’s okay to blame the “victim” – in this case she was nearly 30 years old, wanted something he could offer her, and went into a compromising situation more than once, and even negotiated to exchange sexual favors for an Oscar. I don’t actually see a victim here. I see two adults engaging in a sleazy negotiation to exchange sex for favors – isn’t that called prostitution?

    • Jb says:

      Keep reading Carla. There are others who have asked the same question and there are lots of intelligent responses.

  22. Pat says:

    sounds like that screwball Lena Dunham if your going to say something happen like a sexual assault, describe the person and the incident but then not name the scumbag I think is so stupid…..I think she does a great deal of harm when you put something like this out there and leave the door open for (1) another women to be assaulted by this guy (2) someone to accuse the wrong person and destroy their life….I hate to think she’s trying to bring attention to herself by bring attention to a crime that many women including my wife (while in collage) have been victim to.

  23. Jb says:

    The fake lady doth protest too much.

    • blue439 says:

      Yes, imagine how much trauma and pain could have been prevented if women had come forward and pointed fingers publicly at Bill Cosby.

  24. Thank you Ashley Judd for sharing your story. I am one of the “Legion,” although not with a movie studio mogul but with a music label mogul. I, too, felt ashamed, and was too young and naive to call him out. I was told that I “dangled carrots” and felt it was somehow my fault. Decades later, I thought I was over it, until recently, when I was asked about how I started in the music business. Now as a mother of two girls, I’m ashamed that I didn’t tell it sooner. I was lured and locked in a sauna “because that’s where the best music system is.” I was told that if I didn’t give him and his best friend producer mogul blow jobs, that I wouldn’t get a record deal. When I told him I wouldn’t, he told me he would watch me “scratch and claw” my way to the top “because there are plenty of women who will.” He then recited a list of women who apparently complied. It’s crazy that this cliche continues as a reality. I feel it’s important to tell these stories so that they don’t have to happen to others, especially to our children. I wrote a song about it on my most recent record, “An American Girl” called “Burdens & Bones” –

    • Jb says:

      Beautifully done. Good for you Cindy. Such talent. There are people out there who want to shame us for not disclosing or reporting what happened to us. They have no idea.

  25. Principessa says:

    I’ll believe Ashley Judd gives a crap about feminism or sexual harrassment the minute she stops praising Bill Clinton. She talks about the asymmetry of the power dynamic in the room between her and the mogul, as if that completely excuses her weakness in playing along, and puts the entire burden of guilt onto the “perpetrator.”

    Well, what about the asymmetry of the power dynamic between the freaking LEADER OF THE FREE WORLD and a 24-year old intern? Was that not classic sexual harrassment according to Ashley Judd’s definition? Where is her sympathy for Monica Lewinsky or her condemnation of Bill Clinton?

    Oh wait – he invites her to speak at the Clinton Global Initiative forums … and that keeps her in the news as a “humanitarian” and guess what – that translates directly into $50,000 speaking gigs.

    So all I see here is someone whose ethics and morals are on a sliding scale depending on how much the misogynistic sexually harrassing pig in question can do for her career.

    I call BS on Ashley Judd the “feminist.”

    Oh and by the way? Monica Lewinsky never copped out and said that she gave Bill Clinton a blow job because of sexual harrassment. She was honest enough to say she was a full participant.

    Of course, Ashley Judd and her ilk would say Monica Lewinsky just didn’t realize that she was a “victim” and she’s bought into the patriarchy and self-blaming.

    Yada yada. There isn’t a refrigerator big enough for all the feminist cliches that AJ and the sheeple on this comment thread throw around.

    • Jb says:

      Go back to the 19th century Mister Principustule. Your ad hominem attacks have intensified to the point that you’ve lost all credibility here.

      • Principessa says:

        JB unfortunately (for you) you aren’t the boss of me and you don’t speak for other people on this thread. Your latest tactic to suggest that I must be a man because I don’t subscribe to this generation’s so-called feminism which celebrates the female as victim … well, if anybody believes it … let them.

        I know it stings to have another woman call you a coward and of course as a result you have now intensified your attacks on me, but … I’m going to keep posting what I think.

        And frankly I’m more interested in talking about the issues than in talking about you … in hindsight it was a mistake to give you my actual thoughts about your situation because I should have known it would enrage you. And of course any woman who doesn’t support another woman’s right to claim Victim status … must be a man, even a rapist, right?

        The only thing you got right about me is that I’m not a lawyer :-)

    • Holy Cow, you’re still on here? That’s like a full 48 hours of troll work. I hope someone’s bringing you snacks, at least.

      You do know this screams whack job? (That was rhetorical, btw).

      • Principessa says:

        JustinBieber, nah, I don’t like you. You’re humorless prune. There’s hope for crackingfilms though, (s)he has a good sense of humor and I like what (s)he writes.

      • Jb says:

        Yeah…you’re probably right.

      • principessa says:

        Crackingfilms… There’s just something about you that I like even though you’re insulting me. Go figure!

      • Jb says:

        What about me? Do you like me? Even if I’m just a cowardly lawyer from a non ivy league school?

  26. Truth Fairy says:

    Oh please this entire article was just a big ad with a price label attached to it.

    Next time you want to scream harassment, make sure you leave out the part where you name your price. Even if you were kidding, you’re just leaving the door open for the harasser to claim the same thing – ” we were all just goofing around… I mean, look at what she said!”

  27. Barb Bass says:

    Good for you Ashley! No shame. Only personal power and strength. I wish we all had the inner strength to confront and to stop the aggressor.

    • Principessa says:

      Well said, except for the inconvenient fact that she didn’t “confront” *or* stop the aggressor. She NEGOTIATED a deal with him.

      • Principessa says:

        JamesBond, Ted Kennedy didn’t “govern” Massachusetts. He represented it. In the US Senate.

      • Principessa says:

        JujuBe – did you have your fingers crossed when you typed “none of this is hypocrisy?” Kudos to your dexterity if nothing else.

        What does Ashley Judd say repeatedly is the most important issue to her? Women’s rights. Feminism. Gender equality. Helping dispossessed women to find their power.

        When you say it’s only politics and you can support a man’s politics and not his personal behavior – the only political issue Ashley Judd really cares about (except maybe the environment) is the equal treatment of women. So for her to lavish praise, and wrap her arms around an ex-President who abused his power to sexually harrass (and, credibly, rape) women in situations where he had a HUGE power advantage over them … we’re talking full-on sexual contact, not what happened to Ashley Judd … that is hypocrisy that is almost mind-blowing.

        You can type and type all you like. But this man is a pig, and in particular he’s a pig in the precise area where she has staked out her turf, and that doesn’t bother her in the slightest.

        I would argue the only reason she turns a blind eye to this is her own ambition – as long as he can help advance her humanitarian career, she’s willing to forgive anything he’s done to women.

        And what has he done? Well of course I wasn’t in the room each time he sexually assaulted a woman, but the stories – in great detail – go all the way back to his Oxford days. That one incident in the Little Rock hotel room … the woman gave graphic details … and this was not an attention-seeker … it was stomach turning, and if he hadn’t been the Governor of Arkansas at the time, he might have spent time in an Arkansas prison and have been ineligible after that to even VOTE, let alone be elected POTUS.

      • Jb says:

        One can be sincere and authentic in endorsing a politician for his or her policies and accomplishments and yet still abhor his or her personal behaviour. I was also dismayed with Bill Clinton and I feel for Monica Lewinsky who has had to wear this scarlet letter for decades. There were other things he did that I didn’t agree with such as “three strikes you’re out” and “don’t ask don’t tell.” But I still think he did great things for America. And that’s politics. It’s not hypocritical to stand for a photo with a sitting president who exploited a young woman when you’ve also gone through a similar ordeal. You recognize the situation and respond accordingly. Ted Kennedy …same thing. He hurt a lot of women in his personal life but he governed a state that endorsed access to abortion. Good on ya, Ted. And then there’s RFK Jr who is a jerk in his personal life with a political track record that is just as bad. I don’t have time for him and his medieval ideas on vaccines. And then, finally, there’s George Bush who, some say, is kind of a nice feller in person, but was a terrible president. I may agree to have a beer with him but I would never vote for him. None of this is hypocrisy. It’s just politics.

      • Principessa says:

        JB – you’re over 50 – surely you have heard of Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky. I have never heard Ashley Judd weigh in on that “asymmetry of power” – in fact she posted a photo of herself on twitter not long ago with his arm around her. Care to address that hypocrisy?

      • Jb says:

        Principustule! Of course she did. That’s what victims do, idiot. You need to take a course on women’s studies or gender equity. Ask your kids to educate you…bring you into the 21st century.

  28. bobbecrouch says:

    Wonderful. If she is so strong she should have named him. NOT doing so makes me think she’s still caught up in this mix. It’s not strength when you get out of it and don’t expose the sicko. Sorry. I love her as a person and as an actress, but this smells too fishy for me.

  29. Kay Daddona says:

    These kinds of things happened to me a lot over the years. I’m 62 now… but things happened. .. like my older brother started exposing himself to me at about age 10. Then when I told my mom I just got harassed by my brother for telling on him. Eventualky things escalated to rape, beatings (police said they couldn’t get involved and turned around and left me there with the perpetrator), car jacking, sexual harassment by my boss… Eventually living a life of terror, redicule and abuse. I went to SMU in Dallas to see about getting into college to study the film industry. The head of the department flew me to a ranch out in the middle of nowhere where many creepy old people walked around from room to room looking to find someone that matched their swinger preferences. Gross!! I was 21. These People Were 40+. Eventually I entered into counseling with a renouned psycologist… And writer. He got all creepy with me and my partner as well. I didn’t feel like I could trust anyone anymore!! It was years later that I realized there were nice people in the world. I reported all those people and they were defended by their boards and trustees. Like I was the bad apple. Women still get the bad end of the stick.

    • Jb says:

      Sending love and support to you Kay. I think any woman on the planet who lives long enough will get her share (although not all equal) of these kinds of experiences. I think about the boys in school who exposed themselves under the desk or grabbed girls’ breasts or did a quick one off digital penetration attempt in the school hallway and then ran away. We never reported them and perhaps we should have, even anonymously. These were tomorrow’s rapists or abusers. You don’t know this as a kid. When it happened to my daughter in first grade I reported it. I’m not sure if it got beyond the teacher. Today they shut it down quickly and remove the perp…at least in my city. But we still have a long way to go because it’s an illness that begins at a young age.

  30. Principessa says:

    I have to laugh at the thought of this guy letting her out of the deal a couple of years later. He probably knew all along she was never going to win an Oscar so he was never going to collect.

    I can’t help but think she’s taking a dig at any actress who ever worked for this guy – basically implying that they slept their way into their roles. She never actually says it but the implication is clear. It’s pretty spiteful when you think about it.

    Methinks Gwyneth Paltrow didn’t have to lie on the casting couch to get her role in “Shakespeare in Love” – a role that got her a Best Actress Oscar.

    Maybe Ashley actually gave a deposit up front and feels cheated. I guess we’ll never know, will we? But it seems that she’s more upset that he never offered her a role, than that he “sexually harrassed” her.

    And is it really sexual harrassment if the woman negotiates a price? Or isn’t it – prostitution?

    • these are the exact accusations she expected she would receive years ago when she went through this..the only person in the wrong was the said perpetrator. Just because a woman had to sleep with a man to get a job doesn’t make her a slut, like she said, ” When I kept saying no to everything, there was a huge asymmetry of power and control in that room.” He was the one with the power to give a job and pay, she was the one who wanted that job. The fact that he never offered her a job proves that this was an abuse of power. The fact that she didn’t fall for it made him realize he had no power over her or her body. The only power he had was to give the job, so he made sure she was never offered a job because that was the only hold he could ever have on her. Just for once analyze the situation and really think about it. Don’t blame the victim, asshole.

      • Ting Tang says:

        If I could sleep with a boss for a job instead of having to qualify for it, I might be a multi-millionaire, too. But I guess then I would need the goods, huh.

  31. Lance says:

    One thing I’ve noticed about people who actually are smart – they don’t have to constantly talk about how smart they are. People who do, don’t sound so smart.

    • Livia Scott says:

      Principessa are you actually a man who is a rapist? Because you sound like one.
      Lance you are just an idiot. I can tell because I’m a genius. Goodbye to both of you! : )

      • Principessa says:

        Sure, Livia. Guess you’ve never met a female who took responsibility for her own actions and didn’t go “there there poor widdle victim” every time some 30 year old woman repeatedly goes to a man’s hotel room and participates in her own degradation. I must be a man, right? And not only a man, but a RAPIST. Wow.

      • Jb says:

        We know you’re a man.

  32. Keyser Soze says:

    Phew! For a moment there, I was worried the writers were going to get thrown into this mess. Even newbies know the lowly writer has no juice. Such is life…

  33. Reflective Wisdom says:

    Team Ashley!!! I think the article was very well written. I understand completely how the situation played out with her initial naivety of him being a pervert. That industry has a way of blinding people to suck them in and spit them out. I am proud to see her state as much as she did with clarity. In her classiness, she doesn’t need to name him in article….our research can find it out. It’s just sad that so many comments on this board jump quickly to surface assumptions without taking time to really analyze the situation and put yourself in her shoes. Ashley seems to be a mature woman who has reflected a lot on her past behaviors and situations around her.

    • Principessa says:

      I wonder how old you can be and still refer to yourself as a “naive ingenue” – I mean, she was 30 years old when this non-incident happened.

  34. TruthInAction says:

    She went to the dance, and danced with the devil, and blames the devil?

    Oh, and the meaning of sexual harassment must have changed.

    Boorish behavior? Yeah. Inappropriate behavior? Yeah. Ditsy behavior? Oh YEAH!

  35. Dawg says:

    I know there’s cynicism that this 20-year old revelation is keyed to the relative inactivity of her career, and I have no opinion on that. However, as I read this story, she was no teenage novice, new to the ways of Hollywood and the world. She was almost 30 years old at the time. How she could not recognize that she was getting the “casting couch” routine, one of the oldest techniques in the industry, boggles my mind. Yet apparently, she not only didn’t see it coming, she apparently made repeated visits to his hotel room. I’m not blaming her, I just do not how it could take an intelligent woman, who apparently was completing courses in women’s issues, years to come to the realization that she was being harassed. Millions of people, men and women, are subjected to sexual pressures by more powerful people, but most of them at least recognize what’s happening. I’m sorry, but it seems to me as if she sat on this incident, being fully aware of what was happening, and only came forward when after 20 years no movie roles were forthcoming. The most telling pointt of all this revelation, is her apparent willingness to negotiate with the alleged scumbag, haggling over whether she would accomodate him upon winning an Academy Award versus upon being nominated for one. She views this bargaining as her moment of empowerment, I view it as nothing more than evidence of her willingness to use sex to get what she wants so long as the price is right.

    Another thing, the threat to call the police is pointless, quid pro quo sexual harassment may be a reprehensible tactic, but it is not generally treated as a criminal offense.

  36. And what about older women who are in powerful positions who display this same sort of entitled behavior? Because they do this different, as in “goody for them, a powerful woman displaying her dominant traits”?

  37. “Victim Blaming” is actually a technical term for blaming a child for being victimized by a pedophile or a rape victim, ie. such as in Islam-when a woman has to have 4 male witnesses when she is raped to be found NOT GUILTY of rape, or anywhere else that we might blame the victim of an actual sexual assault. It’s not usually something that we use to describe sexual advances from a man to a woman, even a disgusting older man who is clearly a pervert, you are an adult. (Just say hell no, I’m not that desperate and get your head our of your career for a second. Just as “grooming” is usually used to describe what adults do to children when they are victimizing them. As a society, women want to claim everyone to be “equal”, they are trying to thoroughly emasculate men- even going so far as to demanding that society stop assigning gender to our children, we stop giving our boys “little boy toys” to play with, and then it’s ok to turn around and say that between 2 consenting adults one is more powerful than the other. And if you disagree you are blaming the victim…so which is it? I’m not sure that we should be allowed to have it both ways…this is the problem with the person who is so completely steeped in the liberal thought process, eventually their thinking stops making any sense. It’s very confusing to the rest of us who are just scratching our heads and wondering at what point in a particular society do we as equal people do we have to take responsibility for ourselves as adult women? And are men more powerful? What if it had been, say, Hillary Clinton in that room instead? Would you have come out with this horrible example of the barbaric behavior of men in modern society?

    • Jb says:

      staciemarkham72. “Victim blaming” was coined by William Ryan in his 1971 book “Blaming the Victim.” He described it as an ideology used to justify racism and social injustice against American blacks. It was written to refute an earlier work by Daniel Moynihan that described black crime as the result of American slavery. Ryan said that Moynihan was diverting responsibility for poverty from social structure factors to the behaviours of the poor. Others have adopted the phrase in expressing contempt for women “asking for it” by the way they behave, look, dress, drinking too much, putting herself in harm’s way, etc. So it is much more complex and layered than blaming children for the behaviour of a pedophile. Bottom line is “victim blaming” has got to stop if we want to see ourselves as a modern civilization. It’s what separates us from our ancestors or developing countries where women and children are seen as chattel.

    • principessa says:

      Wow staciemarkham what a beautifully written and intelligent comment! I wish more women had your common sense.

  38. money money money...MONEY! says:

    are all the california ladies getting their calculators out?
    gov jerry brown just signed the equal pay act
    i expect to see a lot of women in all industries in california to be getting a nice big fat back payment effective immediately
    start lining up your attorneys if need be

    money money money….MONEY!

  39. maylavinia says:

    Name him or shut up. Always the victim, Ashley. Jumping on this Cosby train does not endear you to anyone. Show some courage and tell the name and expose him. Otherwise NO ONE believes you. This takes zero courage.

  40. I wonder what this scumbag movie mogul’s politics are? Regardless of how powerful he was and/or is, would he have remained anonymous all these years if he were republican rather than democrat? or, vica-versa? Ideology shouldn’t matter, but do you think it does? Or, as a registered independent who holds all sides accountable, am I just being cynical?

  41. J. Zundel says:

    You have ask why she didn’t report this to authorities or the file a complaint with the EEOC or the California Department of Employment?

    Doesn’t she owe that to her profession? Doesn’t she owe that to her fellow actresses? Doesn’t she owe that to society? How many other women has this person harassed since the 1990s when Judd’s event occurred.

    The answers to my questions are simple. Judd is a self POS and didn’t care about anyone else but herself. She knew if she reported it, her career would suffer, her income would suffer, her roles would be reduced and she would not be part of the perverted hollywood community.

    It is a disgrace for her not to have reported it.

    • Jb says:

      Why? To what end? To be dragged through the mud as you have just done? This is why women don’t report. The majority of sexual assaults go unreported. Why? Because there are men like you in the world who blame them and call them horrible sexist names because they happen to be attractive or have been abused because of where they find themselves in any given time. I was assaulted by a lawyer boyfriend. Did I report it? No. Then my entire family would know. My friends would know. He and his law firm would know. And he could lose his license and reputation…and so on. Best to just get the hell out of his way and not return his phone calls. When you change your gender and find you are subjected to this kind of abuse and repercussions then you have a right to your view. But today you are privileged and therefore blind.

      • Reel Injun says:

        J. Zundel I think you are missing the point. This behavior is so commonplace, the attitudes that fuel this behavior are so ubiquitous that it renders the whole thing invisible. People walk away from situations like this saying to themselves, “Something didn’t feel right about that, but I guess that’s just the business. I don’t want to make a big deal out of it…” It takes some people years to realize that what they experienced qualifies as sexual harassment or sexual assault. And yes, it is unfortunate that more people don’t feel empowered in the moment to name it and call the perpetrator out, but I think the reason people report many years after the fact is because they hope their story will empower people to take the steps that they didn’t feel able to in the moment.

        And in terms of naming names- this is the most litigious country in the world. Sexual assault is very difficult to prosecute without physical evidence, and sexual harassment is even harder. Naming names would be a wide open door to charges of libel. Who wants to deal with that?

      • Ruth says:

        “The majority of sexual assaults go unreported. Why? Because there are men like you in the world who blame them and call them horrible sexist names”

        How glib. I think it’s more nuanced than that. But since you appear to hate men … and you’ll find lots of women like you to spout the party line … you can get away with this simplistic crap.

        “He and his law firm would know.” Um, I think he already knew.

        “And he could lose his license and reputation.” And this would be a bad thing – why?

        “Best to just get the hell out of his way and not return his phone calls.” Sure, so he can move on to his next victim more quickly.

        You’re a coward.

  42. A woman says:

    Name him, Ashley Judd. You have our attention. You want change, you and all the others you refer to need to tell the whole story and be specific. Otherwise, this is all vague talk about how the industry is entrenched and women are harassed. We know that already. Tell us what we don’t know, and then there can be the start of change.

    You talk about coming into your own power and healing. What power, if it doesn’t change anything? What healing, if your healing is only relative to the standards of an entrenched industry? Name names, so all of us can really talk.

    Maybe you fear for your career in Hollywood, but think of it this way, are you a human being first, or an actor first? Do you want to work in the service of movies or the real world? Ultimately movies don’t really matter, but the way people treat each other does.

    Anyway, major studios aren’t the only ones making movies, and more and more frequently, they’re not even making the best ones.

    • Jb says:

      Ruth. It may be brave to report but that doesn’t make it cowardly to not report. And, of course it’s nuanced and that is why many don’t report. In my case I had a child to protect. To drag me through such an ordeal would have hurt her also. I had no money and it would have meant taking time off work to show up for police and prosecutor interviews…and then court. I was totally alone, very young and had no mentors. Until you’ve been there you can never judge. And I don’t hate men. Such a cliche to suggest that. I’ve been happily married for 30 years to a wonderful man who understands all these issues. There’s no hatred. And no regret. Only forgiveness. I had to forgive the perpetrator and I had to forgive me. So how dare you, as a woman, call another woman a coward for not reporting a sexual assault. You have no right to judge me or anyone who has been sexually assaulted and chooses to heal herself in the way she knows best.

      • Jb says:

        Ruth~wow. And you’re calling me angry. What is about a movement to promote gender equity (i.e. feminism) that angers you so much? Do you carry the same anger for “gay pride” or “black lives matter?”

      • Ruth says:

        excuses, excuses. and speaking of cliches, I’ve read some of your posts on here. i could have written them in my sleep if i wanted to spoof the modern angry feminist.

        you’re in denial about how much anger you have – you virtually sizzle with it.

        i haven’t been there. and never will. you know why? i’m emotionally healthy. I’ve never had a boyfriend that assaulted me because I’m not attracted to violence. [i could also write your predictable response to THAT, if i wanted to wallow in the victim mentality where you dwell]

        bottom line is – you didn’t report your perpetrator and as a direct result of your silence, he probably victimized other women. again: COWARD

        i have no right to judge you? and yet i do judge you. funny how the internet works that way. strangers judge each other.

        by the way i believe ashley judd too. I believe what she said happened, happened. and i don’t care. she walked into that room, she stayed in that room, she negotiated to exchange sexual favors for an oscar … and she wasn’t a “naive ingenue” she was 30 years old.

        why is this even a story 2 decades later? Cosby I get. This? meh

    • eguthr3 says:

      I have an idea who this guy is and he has a reputation for hitting on women even though he’s married and has three children. It wasn’t hard to figure it out… she gave the biggest clue by never doing a film for this studio. I looked up her film history and discovered what studio it was and then looked up the presidents and top executives who were there at the time in 1996 (filming was done 1996, released in 1997). My first instinct was Harvey Weinstein, who has a horrible reputation for how he treated his actresses who appeared in his films and has been sued a number of times for sexual harassment.. But,, she has done a few small films for Miramax and the Weinstein Company. If you want to know the name, just do what I did and research. She has never done a film for Columbia but Columbia (but Mark Canton was head but was fired in 1996) was headed up by a woman (Amy Pascal since 1996) at the time. She’s never done a film for Walt Disney Motion Pictures, but did one of it’s banner companies such as Hollywood Picture and Buena Vista, Miramax, Weinstein Company and/or Touchstone. She’s never done a film for Universal, Revolution Studios or Dreamworks. Warner Brothers, Twentieth Century Fox/Fox SearchLights Pictures, Paramount, MGM/UA have all used her in at least one film but she’s done the most with Paramount and Warner Bros. Smaller studios such as Lions Gate, Dimension Films (which is now owned by The Weinstein Company) and Roadside Attractions have also worked with Ashley in smaller independent films..

      The upside is that his career has faltered and no longer has the power he once had. For an actress just starting out in the business you have to deal with these perverts left and right. You’ve got casting directors, producers, directors, actors who have power. This isn’t the first or the last time this has happened..I’ve heard some horror stories from young actresses just starting out (even photographers wanting to get a head shot) but that’s NYC area not Hollywood/Los Angeles.

      • Attracted to violence?? are you insinuating that women attract violence? Are you crazy no true feminist holds such ideals as yours. WE empower everyone, not just women but men as well. And guess what forgiveness heals internal wounds that no one else can see. You call her a coward yet have never walked in her choose because ‘you don’t attract violence.’ Let me tell you this, No one does! Just because she didn’t report the assault doesn’t make her weak. As women we face unfair situations, and now as a society we are lucky to be able to speak about said situations we strength not fear or malice. I can be walking alone in the street staring straight ahead and apparently according to you, I attract catcalls. I act as if I don’t hear them as if I don’t see them, I try to hide that I am afraid and intimidated so they will not inflict any more unwanted attention. But the whole way home I can’t stop thinking about it. Does it make me a coward not to yell at them to piss off? I still walk home alone at night, if anything that makes me brave. I will not allow these situations to affect my life or to scare me away. I am afraid in the moment it occurs but not for the rest of my life.

  43. Just4Me says:

    Keep it to yourself if you’re not going to name the creep. This makes me really angry when these perverts aren’t named.

  44. Principessa says:

    Ashley Judd likes to present herself as a strong feminist woman. Except when it suits her better to present herself as a victim. Pick the feminist victim issue of the week and Ashley Judd jumps on that bandwagon. Then she works it into her $50,000 speeches so she can stay relevant among the feminist sheeple.

    The incident in the hotel room? EIGHTEEN YEARS AGO? That was a failed prostitution deal. Ashley was negotiating to exchange sexual favors for a role in a film that might get her an Oscar. That’s just sleazy. That she doesn’t see that tells us a lot about her personality.

    Nobody’s talking about her acting, so every time she falls off the radar and wants to climb back into the public eye, she cries wolf and people talk about her for a week or so.

    I have never met anyone who was raped three times. You know that old saying “fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” Guess she’s a slow learner.

    She needs to pick a persona and stick with it. Is she a strong self-empowered feminist or is she a lifelong victim.

  45. Robert Smith says:

    Why don’t you name the Exec now? You have the power to make a difference by naming names. That is the only way to stop this from happening in the future.

  46. Robert Moya says:

    Sorry to disagree with most here, but the only acceptable answer to “Will a you watch me shower?” is “No. That is sexual harassment.”

    By stating that she would do it after she won an Oscar, she turned the whole episode into a prostitution deal – a failed one, to boot.

  47. Al says:

    I’m glad she expressed this – but I took objection to Ashely framing this as a female only issue. Women are most often the victims of this type of B.S., but some men are victims of the same shit.

    • Reel Injun says:

      She didn’t frame it as a female only issue- read the last paragraph: “This happened to be a man who did this to a woman. But this system is one that all of us participate. I feel like I could have easily had a breakthrough conversation about what happened with men as I could with those women.”

  48. TM says:

    HW and BC – gross pigs. That is their base selves. Good for Ashley for speaking up as much as she has. The protection and insulation of abusers in positions of power is a massive part of the problem. The Catholic church gets the most ink for this legacy/policy – but there are gobs of agencies and industries that have done, and continue to do, this exact same thing – silence and intimidation of the victim. Ashley has started this conversation -would love to see others find a way to stand in solidarity with her and make him accountable.

  49. Years later realized what was happening, something illegal. Ashley, you fool?

  50. Toad Groan says:

    this chick is precious. every once in awhile she pops up: my stepfather touched me. my mother neglected me, the internet is cruel to me, he sexually harrassed me. boo hoo. watch as she crawls further up bill and hillary clinton’s bums supporting them. bill being one of the most heinous power sexual predators going. boo hoo ashley…boo hoo.

    • Principessa says:

      I totally agree. Here she is slumming at a support meeting for a group of former sex workers. These are people who lived in the bushes behind a 7-11 servicing johns, and they’re rebuilding their lives, and Ashley Judd, movie star, drops in and when it’s her turn to introduce herself she decides she has to be the victimest of the victims so she lets loose with this string:

      ““Hi, I’m Ashley, I’m a grateful recovering depressed codependent … [garbled] … self-harmer … [garbled] … love addict, love avoidant, adult child of alcoholics, addicts and sex addicts … survivor of all forms of sexual abuse including incest and rape and about that, I have no shame.”

      No shame? She BRAGS about it.

      Since then she has added a bunch of other victim-y stuff to her litany. I heard her talking about criminal child neglect recently.

      It’s amazing that anyone in her family is still speaking to her because she throws her parents under the bus every chance she gets.

      What has Ashley Judd’s life actually been like? Um, extended family that cared for her including all four grandparents. Rich godmother who took her to Europe every summer when she was a teenager and paid her way to go model in Japan when she was 15. Sister Wynonna buys her a BMW when she’s 16. Mommy rents her a house in Malibu and gives her a Mercedes when she goes to Hollywood. Sister Wynonna lets her live in a house on a 10 acre farm in Tennessee – she’s been living there rent-free for 21 years and counting.

      Yeah poor neglected widdle Ashley.

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