Ashley Judd has been outspoken on social media about violence, harassment, and many other women’s issues. Now she’s speaking out again, this time talking about the sexual harassment she suffered at the hands of a studio exec.
Judd had never revealed her story until now, and she recently spoke to Variety about the harassment that occurred at a formative time in her career.
Judd says it happened during her time on Kiss the Girls. The studio exec lured her to his room, under the guise of discussing movie roles, and at one point tried to force her to watch him shower.
“I did not recognize at the time what was happening to me. It took years before I could evaluate that incident and realize that there was something incredibly wrong and illegal about it,” she says.
“He was very stealth and expert about it. He groomed me, which is a technical term – Oh, come meet at the hotel for something to eat. Fine, I show up. Oh, he’s actually in his room. I’m like, Are you kidding me? I just worked all night. I’m just going to order cereal. It went on in these stages. It was so disgusting. He physically lured me by saying, “Oh, help me pick out what I’m going to wear.” There was a lot that happened between the point of entry and the bargaining. There was this whole process of bargaining—“Come do this, come do this, come do this.” And I would say, “No, no, no.” I have a feeling if this is online and people have the opportunity to post comments, a lot of the people will say, “Why didn’t you leave the room?”, which is victim-blaming. When I kept saying no to everything, there was a huge asymmetry of power and control in that room.”
— ashley judd (@AshleyJudd) August 7, 2015
Judd says this “mogul” did this to other women.
“This happened to be a man who did this to a woman. But this system is one that all of us participate. I feel like I could have easily had a breakthrough conversation about what happened with men as I could with those women. We’re all part of the problem, but we’re all part of the solution. This is one of those incidents where any work I needed to do on it was completed when I confronted him. Healing comes in a lot of different ways. Some things require intensive, contained work. Some things could be resolved with a good run or punching bag or an interaction with the perpetrator, in which one is able to take one’s power back,” says Judd.