Ashley Judd gave her first television interview since coming forward with allegations of sexual assault by Harvey Weinstein. In an ABC News segment with Diane Sawyer, that aired on Good Morning America’s Thursday, October 26, episode, Judd opened up about the alleged experience as well as her thoughts on the former studio head today.
When describing the alleged harassment, Judd said that Weinstein invited her years ago to a business meeting that she was unaware was in his hotel room until she was there. Shortly after her arrival, she says he asked her to come into the bathroom to watch him take a shower and suggested they give each other massages. “I had no warning,” she recalled to Sawyer. “I had a business appointment. That’s his pattern of sexual predation.”
Judd has previously described how she removed herself from the situation that day, by debating with Weinstein for several minutes when she would give into his advances. “Finally, I just said when I win an Oscar in one of your movies, okay?” she said again on GMA. When Weinstein allegedly tried to bargain back by saying it would happen when Judd was “nominated” for an Oscar, she claims she said, “No. When I win an Oscar.”
The actress, who was one of the first women to publicly accuse Weinstein of harassment in a New York Times investigative piece, recalled to Sawyer that when she went to confront Weinstein years later, he backed down. “He said, ‘You know, Ashley, I’m going to let you out of that agreement we made,’” Judd recalled. “I said, ‘You do that, Harvey. You do that.’”
Weinstein has denied all rape accusations against him. “Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein,” Weinstein’s spokesperson Sallie Hofmeister said in a statement to Us Weekly. “Mr. Weinstein has further confirmed that there were never any acts of retaliation against any women for refusing his advances. Mr. Weinstein obviously can’t speak to anonymous allegations, but with respect to any women who have made allegations on the record, Mr. Weinstein believes that all of these relationships were consensual.
During the interview, Sawyer showed Judd a photo of the actress years prior posing with Weinstein at a Vanity Fair Oscar party and holding his hand, which Weinstein said was his evidence that they “were friends,” according to Sawyer. Judd pointed to a different photo from the same event, explaining that, “the look on my face is abject terror … It’s very gross. I feel for that 28/29 year old woman.”
Despite their history, Judd has a surprising message for the businessman. “I love you, and I understand that you are sick and suffering, and there is help for a guy like you, too,” Judd told Sawyer of what she would say to Weinstein today, noting that she’ll never forgive him for what he did to women. “And it’s entirely up to you to get that help.”
When asked if Weinstein should be behind bars, Judd replied, “If he’s a rapist, he should absolutely go to jail.