Ashley Judd Says She Finally Went on the Record About Harvey Weinstein Because ‘It Was the Right Thing to Do’

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Judd. Photo: Jemal Countess/Getty Images

Though she’d been alluding to it for years, Ashley Judd says she finally decided to go on the record about Harvey Weinstein’s misconduct because the moment had arrived. “I did it because it was the right thing to do,” she said Tuesday night on a panel with the New York Times journalists who broke the Weinstein story. She said she trusted their “journalistic integrity” and the Times enough as an institution to speak without anonymity for the first time. Named a Person of the Year by Time this morning, alongside the women and men of the #MeToo movement, Judd noted that she’d spoken up about Weinstein for years in private. “I started talking about Harvey the minute that it happened,” she told Time. “Literally, I exited that hotel room at the Peninsula Hotel in 1997 and came straight downstairs to the lobby, where my dad was waiting for me, because he happened to be in Los Angeles from Kentucky, visiting me on the set. And he could tell by my face — to use his words — that something devastating had happened to me. I told him. I told everyone.”

But Judd remembers there being no system in place in Hollywood at the time to get justice. “Were we supposed to call some fantasy attorney general of moviedom?” Judd says. “There wasn’t a place for us to report these experiences.” She previously told the Times that she wasn’t sure she’d be believed even if she did report it. After the Times investigation went live in October, Judd says she took some time to herself on a five-day retreat in the Great Smoky Mountains. Since her return, Judd’s been participating in meetings in Hollywood about sexual harassment — including at her agency WME, where an agent has been accused of groping Terry Crews — and can feel systemic change coming. “The conversations I’ve been having with my fellow actors have been incredibly rewarding,” she said. “They are absolutely blowing this out of the water.”

Why Ashley Judd Went on the Record About Harvey Weinstein