In an interview with Variety, Ashley Judd reveals that she was “sexually harassed by one of our industry’s most famous, admired-slash-rivaled bosses” while filming 1997’s Kiss the Girls. While she does not name the man she described as a “mogul,” she goes on to say that he “physically lured” her into his hotel room under the pretense of a meeting. She says he asked her to help him pick out something to wear, and then, after repeated refusals on Judd’s part, the mogul asked, “Will you watch me take a shower?”
In that moment, I told him something like, “When I win an Academy Award in one of your movies.” He said, “No, when you get nominated.” I said, “No, no, when I win an Academy Award.” That was a small moment of power when I was able to contradict him and hold to my reality. And then I got out of there.
Judd says that she’s confirmed with other actresses that the studio head has done the same thing to other women and that she’s never once been offered a movie by that studio since the incident.
This is not the first time Judd has revealed sexual harassment she’s endured in Hollywood. During a 2014 interview at a press junket for A Dolphin’s Tale 2, she alluded to the incident with the mogul (without mentioning the shower proposal) and also pointed out the fact that she’s been on sets where producers have “said things [to her] that were so sexually charged.”
Judd admits she blamed herself for not realizing it was sexual harassment in the moment, but says it happens all the time: “I beat myself up for a while. This is another part of the process. We internalize the shame. It really belongs to the person who is the aggressor.” She also offered a message to would-be internet commenters who might ask, “Why didn’t you leave the room?” Judd calls that “victim-blaming” and further says, “When I kept saying no to everything, there was a huge asymmetry of power and control in that room.”