Ashley Judd is suing Harvey Weinstein for sexual harassment and ‘damaging her career’

Actress Ashley Judd has filed a defamation and sexual harassment lawsuit against Harvey Weinstein, claiming that the film producer damaged her career after she refused his sexual advances.

Weinstein has been at the centre of a criminal investigation, after an extensive outpouring of allegations including rape and sexual assault from scores of women in both America and the UK. He “unequivocally denies” any allegations of non-consensual sex.

After Peter Jackson admitted last year that he blacklisted Judd based on what he called a “smear campaign” of “false information” provided by Weinstein, now a civil lawsuit brought by Judd accuses Weinstein of causing Judd to lose a part in The Lord of the Rings in 1998 by making “baseless smears” against her – as the New York Times reports.

The actress previously claimed that Weinstein invited her to a business breakfast meeting two decades ago only to have her sent to his hotel room. Weinstein greeted her in a bathroom robe, Judd claims, proceeding to ask her to give him a massage and proposing that she watch him shower. Weinstein has always denied these claims.

Now, the new suit continues to allege that Weinstein “was retaliating against Ms Judd for rejecting his sexual demands approximately one year earlier, when he cornered her in a hotel room under the guise of discussing business”. It argues that Weinstein “torpedoed Ms. Judd’s incredible professional opportunity.”

In response, a spokesman for Weinstein again refuted the allegations within the lawsuit.

“The most basic investigation of the facts will reveal that Mr. Weinstein neither defamed Ms. Judd nor ever interfered with Ms. Judd’s career, and instead not only championed her work but also repeatedly approved her casting for two of his movies over the next decade,” they said.

Judd has stated that all money from the lawsuit would be donated to the Time’s Up movement, “so that women and men in all professions may have legal redress for sexual harassment, economic retaliation and damage to their careers.”