The 47-year-old actress claims that she was sexually harassed by “one of our industry’s most famous, admired-slash-rivaled bosses” while filming Kiss the Girls in the late ‘90s in a new interview with Variety. Judd declined to name the alleged offender, but the article states that he was “a mogul from a rival studio.”
“He was very stealthy and expert about it,” she says of the alleged encounters, claiming that he invited to her to his hotel to share a meal and discuss roles just to lure her up to his room .
“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,” she said.
“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 was online and people had the opportunity to post comments, a lot of the people would 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.”
Judd claims that her situation was not unlike several other actors, whom she says have since swapped stories involving the mogul in question.
“The ultimate thing when I was weaseling out of everything else was, 'Will you watch me take a shower?’ And all the other women, sitting around this table with me, said, 'Oh my god – that’s what he said to me too,’” Judd told Variety. “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. And by the way, I’ve never been offered a movie by that studio. Ever.”
Though Judd says she eventually reclaimed her power from her alleged harasser, publicly confronting him at the premiere of Double Jeopardy, she also says “I was really hard on myself because I didn’t get out of it by saying, 'OK motherf***er, I’m calling the police.’”
Earlier this year, Judd announced that she would be pressing charges against Twitter trolls whom she claimed threatened her with sexual violence after a seemingly innocuous tweet about a college basketball team “playing dirty” during March Madness. Just after, Judd penned a passionate essay titled “Forget Your Team: Your Online Violence Towards Girls and Women Is What Can Kiss My Ass.”
In the op-ed, Judd writes about her own traumatic experiences of sexual assault.
“I am a survivor of sexual assault, rape and incest,” she wrote on Mic.com’s “Pass the Mic” series. “The summer of 1984 was tough for me. I experienced two rapes by an adult and systematic molestation from another adult, who also had another man in the room watching (I now understand this was to ensure he had a witness, in order to undermine me in the event I tried to report the incident). … This January, I read three different things that freshly triggered an additional, very specific memory from age 15 – an attempted oral rape by yet another adult man.”
What is it with powerful men in the entertainment industry? They see a lot of beautiful women and just see them as ripe peaches, ready for them to pluck any time they want.
Ashley Fights Gender Based Violence on Twitter
After Judd says that she began to heal with the help of therapy, she received a particularly vulgar tweet that led her to research what legal actions to take against gender-based violence on Twitter.
"Supported by friends and a brilliant psychologist, my therapy was astonishing, as all such healing work is," she recalls. "I felt like I had the chance to finally speak, fight and grieve, and be consoled and comforted. But then, on literally the very next day, I received a disturbing tweet with a close-up photograph of my face behind text that read, 'I can't wait to cum all over your face and in your mouth.'"
"The timing was canny, and I knew it was a crime. It was time to call the police, and to say to the Twittersphere, no more," she recalls.
To make matters worse, these these types of disturbing tweets aren't the exception -- Judd says she deals with them on a regular basis.
"I routinely cope with tweets that sexualize, objectify, insult, degrade and even physically threaten me," she writes. " ... But this particular tsunami of gender-based violence and misogyny flooding my Twitter feed [on Sunday] was overwhelming. Tweets rolled in, calling me a c**t, a whore or a b**ch, or telling me to suck a two-inch d*ck. Some even threatened rape, or 'anal anal anal.'"
Now, she is using this incident to stand up for other women who also deal with this type of harassment.
"What happened to me is the devastating social norm experienced by millions of girls and women on the Internet," she adds. "Online harassers use the slightest excuse (or no excuse at all) to dismember our personhood. My tweet was simply the convenient delivery system for a rage toward women that lurks perpetually."
She closed her essay with a plea for others to continue to speak out against abuse.
"So for now, I am handing it back over to those of you who are unafraid to speak out against abuse like I have faced, and those of you who are righteous allies and intervening bystanders," she writes. "You're on it. Keep at it -- on the Internet, at home, at work and in your hearts, where the courage to tackle this may fundamentally lie. We have much to discuss, and much action to take. Join me."
And despite her negative Twitter experiences, Judd continues to be active on the social media platform and even tweeted about her passionate essay on Thursday.
"I published my #onlinegenderviolence essay w/ http://mic.com because millennials will solve this problem," she posted. " .... Who else has had enough? What will you do?"