In October 2017, the New York Times published an exposé that solidified swirling rumors about Harvey Weinstein's behavior with tangible, incriminating proof. The article begins with an incident representative of Weinstein’s alleged predatory tactics. The producer allegedly invited a young ingenue to his hotel room and tried to persuade her into massages or showering.
That young actress was Ashley Judd. Along with Rose McGowan, Judd was one of the first well-known American actresses to come forward with allegations against Weinstein. Following the report, over 80 women (including other stars like Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie and Salma Hayek) accused Weinstein of sexual harassment and assault. Since the New York Times and The New Yorker published their Weinstein exposés and followups, this conversation about rampant sexual misconduct and workplace power imbalances has grown into a societal movement, encompassing individuals of all walks of life – not just Hollywood elites.
Two days ago, Judd’s participation in this movement reached another milestone. She filed a lawsuit against Weinstein, claiming his smear campaigns against her character greatly hindered her career. Should Judd's lawsuit succeed, it could have palpable ramifications for protecting survivors of sexual misconduct from professional damages.
Though she's been a prominent figure in #MeToo headlines since last fall Judd has actually been a silence-breaker for years. Here, we track Judd's heroic history as an activist for empowering survivors of sexual assault to come forward.