Disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein has finally been exposed for rampant sexual misconduct.
Despite best efforts from high-profile enablers like Hillary Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, and other Hollywood elite, Weinstein is being toppled by brave women who have come forward.
Now Weinstein’s latest court battle could have massive ramifications for him and the morally murky film industry as a whole.
Actress Ashley Judd filed a lawsuit against Weinstein for harassment and defamation. She claims Weinstein injured her career by smearing her as “difficult” because she rebuffed his criminal sexual advances.
While defamation in this form is difficult to prove, Judd’s claim is being corroborated by big names in the industry.
From The New York Times:
Ashley Judd sued Harvey Weinstein on Monday, opening a new legal battlefront for the disgraced film producer by claiming that her career withered because he spread lies about her in Hollywood after she rejected his sexual requests.
It is rare for people to recover damages for smear campaigns — for instance, quietly labeling actresses as “difficult” when they don’t acquiesce to powerful men — because of how complicated it can be to prove the action took place, let alone directly harmed someone’s career.
But Ms. Judd has an A-list director on her side: Peter Jackson, who came forward in December to say that he removed her from a casting list “as a direct result” of what he now thought was “false information” provided by Mr. Weinstein. Until then, according to the lawsuit, Ms. Judd did not know that “something unseen was holding her back from obtaining the work she wanted, and had been doing so for decades.”
The suit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, involves Mr. Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” films, the first of which was released in 2001. Mr. Jackson had wanted to cast Ms. Judd in a prominent role in the series. But Mr. Weinstein “torpedoed Ms. Judd’s incredible professional opportunity,” according to the complaint, by falsely telling Mr. Jackson that Ms. Judd was a “nightmare” who should be avoided “at all costs.”
Jeannie Suk Gersen, a professor at Harvard Law School who specializes in gender and sexual harassment issues, said Ms. Judd’s complaint is notable because it “speaks to the fact that this is not just a sexual issue — that, beyond physical and emotional harm, it also involves economic harm.”
The lawsuit maintains that Mr. Weinstein was retaliating against Ms. Judd for refusing to engage in sexual activity with him. About a year before Ms. Judd was in contention for the “Lord of the Rings” role, Mr. Weinstein had her meet him in a hotel room in Beverly Hills — under the guise of discussing business — where he appeared in a bathrobe and, among other things, asked her to submit to a massage and watch him shower, the complaint said. Ms. Judd had previously recounted the episode in an interview with The New York Times published last October.
Mr. Weinstein has previously denied trying to derail Ms. Judd’s career. In December, when Mr. Jackson told a publication in New Zealand that Mr. Weinstein had told him not to cast Ms. Judd or Mira Sorvino, Mr. Weinstein said in a statement that he had “no input into the casting whatsoever.” (Ms. Sorvino has also accused Mr. Weinstein of harassment.) Although the “Lord of the Rings” movies were started at Miramax, a boutique studio run by Mr. Weinstein and then owned by Disney, the project moved to New Line Cinema before filming began.
Mr. Jackson rejected Mr. Weinstein’s denial in subsequent public comments in December, saying that his creative partner on the films, Fran Walsh, “remembers these negative comments about Ashley and Mira as clearly as I do.”
It’s no secret that boorish power brokers like Weinstein use their influence to prey on women. Hollywood itself has displayed this unfortunate stereotype in countless films and television shows.
The most despicable aspect of this fiasco is the hypocrisy. Liberals like Weinstein claim to stand up for women, but behind the curtain, they are the very perpetrators they claim to abhor.