Yesterday, a decision was made on actress and political activist Ashley Judd’s protracted legal battle against former Hollywood film producer Harvey Weinstein.
As reported by CNN, U.S. District Judge Philip S. Gutierrez dismissed the sexual harassment claim which Judd had levied against Weinstein. In the ruling, which was obtained by CNN, Gutierrez argued that Judd’s legal counsel had “not adequately alleged that her relationship with Defendant was covered by the statute.”
While this might seem like an outright loss for Judd, her legal battle against Weinstein is far from over. Last April, the actress filed a defamation and sexual harassment lawsuit, arguing that he intentionally damaged her career after she rejected his sexual advances. While the sexual harassment claim has been dismissed, Judd still has the option to continue pursuing her defamation claim against Weinstein.
For those who need a refresher of the allegations made against Harvey Weinstein, here’s a quick recap. Back in October 2015, Judd — speaking to Variety — detailed how she was sexually harassed by a Hollywood studio executive. At the time, she did not reveal the identity of said executive, but in October 2017, she revealed that the person in question was Harvey Weinstein.
Weinstein, the co-founder of Miramax, has had a prolific career in both film and theater. He is best known for producing several successful independent films, including Sex, Lies, and Videotape, Pulp Fiction, Flirting with Disaster, and Shakespeare in Love. Over the course of his career, he has won an Academy Award — for Shakespeare In Love— and has won seven Tony Awards for his work on musicals and plays.
In October 2017, both the New York Times and the New Yorker published reports detailing how dozens of women had accused Weinstein of sexual assault, abuse, and rape over a period spanning more than 30 years. While he initially denied any instance of non-consensual sex, he was dismissed from both The Weinstein Company — which he co-founded with his brother, Bob — and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
As part of Judd’s defamation lawsuit, the actress claims that Weinstein “blackballed” her from the industry after she refused his sexual advances. As reported by the BBC, Judd’s lawsuit states that “Weinstein used his power in the entertainment industry to damage Ms. Judd’s reputation and limit her ability to find work.”
Phyllis Kupferstein — Mr. Weinstein’s lawyer — embraced Judge Gutierrez’s decision.
“We have said from the beginning that this claim was unjustified, and we are pleased that the court saw it as we did,” she stated. “We believe that we will ultimately prevail on her [Judd’s] remaining claims.”
Theodore Boutrous, who is representing Ashley Judd, responded to the court’s decision in his own statement.
“While we respectfully disagree with the Court’s decision as to the one claim it ruled on today, we look forward to pursuing the three claims for relief that the Court has already ruled can move forward,” Boutrous stated.