Ashley Judd is suing Harvey Weinstein accusing the movie mogul of damaging her career.
The actress was one of the first women to open up about the alleged misconduct she witnessed in the producer's company, and accused him of blacklisting her and sabotaging her career after she refused his sexual advances.
Her worst fears were realised at the end of last year when Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson confessed he turned his back on Judd and Mira Sorvino based on remarks Weinstein had allegedly made about the actresses, and now the Frida star is taking action to seek justice for opportunities missed.
Disgraced producer, Harvey Weinstein (Getty Images)
In her lawsuit, obtained by Deadline, Judd claims that by saying no to Weinstein, he "torpedoed Ms. Judd’s incredible professional opportunity" when he told Jackson and his producer partner Fran Walsh "that (his) studio had had a 'bad experience' with Ms. Judd, and that Ms. Judd was a 'nightmare' to work with and should be avoided 'at all costs'."
"With those baseless smears, Weinstein succeeded in blacklisting Ms. Judd and destroying her ability to work on what became a multibillion-dollar franchise (Lord of the Rings) with 17 Academy Award wins and many more nominations.
"He also effectively blocked Ms. Judd from future opportunities to work with Mr. Jackson and Ms. Walsh."
The filing comes as Weinstein's former company, The Weinstein Company, is in Chapter 11 bankruptcy, awaiting bidder submissions.
"Mr. Weinstein's abusive conduct toward others has caused no end of damage to aspiring actors and others in the film and entertainment industry," Judd, who is donating any money recovered in the suit to charity, told the outlet. "As my experience and the experience of others shows, even a few false statements from Mr. Weinstein could destroy potentially career-changing professional opportunities.
"It’s time that Mr. Weinstein be held accountable for that conduct and for the ways in which he’s damaged careers."
Jackson previously apologised to both Judd and Sorvino for passing them up for roles in Lord of the Rings, explaining, "At the time, we had no reason to question what these guys were telling us, but in hindsight, I realise that this was very likely the (Weinstein's former production company) Miramax smear campaign in full swing. I now suspect we were fed false information about both of these talented women - and, as a direct result, their names were removed from our casting list."
Peter Jones has apologised for "unwittingly been part of the alleged damage to [Ashley Judd and Mira Sorvino's] careers" (Getty Images)
"Nearly 20 years later, we read about the misconduct allegations being made against Harvey Weinstein and we saw comments by both Mira and Ashley, who felt they had been blacklisted by Miramax after rejecting Harvey’s advances. Fran and I immediately remembered Miramax’s negative reaction when we put their names forward, and we wondered if we had unwittingly been part of the alleged damage to their careers, at the hands of Miramax.
*** Read more: Oprah Winfrey: 'I Knew Harvey Weinstein Was A Big Bully' ***
"If we were unwitting accomplices in harming their careers, Fran and I unreservedly apologise to both Ashley and Mira."
Sorvino responded by thanking the director for his honesty, tweeting: "Just seeing this after I awoke, I burst out crying. There it is, confirmation that Harvey Weinstein derailed my career, something I suspected but was unsure. Thank you Peter Jackson for being honest. I’m just heartsick."
Asheley Judd and Mira Sorvino (Getty Images)
Disgraced producer Weinstein has dismissed Jackson's claims, insisting the director was "fed false information" about the actresses.
"Mr. Weinstein has nothing but the utmost respect for Peter Jackson. However, as Mr. Jackson will probably remember, because Disney would not finance the Lord of the Rings, Miramax lost the project and all casting was done by New Line," a statement from the producer's representatives read.