An appeals court on Wednesday ruled that Ashley Judd can pursue a sexual harassment claim against Harvey Weinstein, finding that he held power over her career when he invited her to his room at the Peninsula Hotel in the mid-1990s.
The three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the lower court, which had thrown out the claim on the grounds that Judd was not Weinstein’s employee at the time of the meeting.
“(T)heir relationship consisted of an inherent power imbalance wherein Weinstein was uniquely situated to exercise coercion or leverage over Judd by virtue of his professional position and influence as a top producer in Hollywood,” wrote Judge Mary H. Murguia, for the panel. “Therefore, the district court erred when it dismissed Judd’s sexual harassment claim.”
Judd sued Weinstein in April 2018. She alleged that Weinstein had lured her to his hotel room, asked her to watch him shower and tried to give her a massage. She also sued for defamation and retaliation, claiming that after she rebuffed his advances, Weinstein effectively blacklisted her in the film industry.
She brought the suit after “Lord of the Rings” director Peter Jackson revealed in an interview that Miramax had discouraged him from casting Judd and Mira Sorvino, saying they could be a “nightmare to work with.”