Ashley Judd Reveals How Speaking up About Harvey Weinstein Changed Her Life

In October 2017, the New York Times published an exposé in which actress Ashley Judd was one of the first women to publicly accuse Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment. Since that piece was published, Weinstein has become disgraced and is now facing charges relating to alleged incidents of assault involving three women.

Now, speaking to the Times again, Judd recounted how her life has changed since coming forward with her story, sharing that while she thought a few emails in October would be the end of her receiving thanks, that was clearly not the case.

"People passed me notes on airplanes thanking me," she said. "Men and women. I actually just reread three notes that I kept on my bedside table. The themes are similar: thank you so much, I’ve had my own experiences with harassment and sexual assault, you’ve been so brave, you made it easier for me."

In the original exposé, Judd alleged that two decades ago, Weinstein had invited her to his hotel for what she assumed was a business meeting. Instead, she said, they spoke in his suite, where he asked her for a massage, a shoulder rub, to help her pick out his clothes and to watch him shower, all of which she refused.

Judd, who said she felt “panicky, trapped,” shared that to leave the room, she joked that if Weinstein wanted to touch her, she would have to win an Oscar in one of his films first.

Weinstein has denied all allegations of non-consensual sex.

Judd has since sued Weinstein for allegedly damaging her career after she rebuffed his sexual advances, and told the Times that her suit is an effort to bring those problems to light, as they affect women around the country.

"Being able to have the legal basis for remedy is crucial," she explained. "The promotion that doesn’t materialize, the shift that’s reassigned, the opportunities for advantageous overtime … those are all ways that women are punished. Bringing that to light and having economic and legal remedy is an integral part of the strategy of moving the American workforce forward."

The actress added that she decided to share her story "because it was the right thing to do."

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"I trusted that things would fall into place," Judd said. "Now I want joyfully to shout from the rooftops, everyone come forward, everyone come forward. Everyone has to make their decisions, but I think we can safely say millions of others are here to offer support and hope. Nobody can do it for me, but I don’t have to do it alone."

Photo Credit: Getty / Mike Coppola