A judge in California has dismissed Ashley Judd’s sexual harassment claim against Hollywood mega-producer Harvey Weinstein for the second time.
Variety reports that Judge Philip Gutierrez handed down a 13-page ruling in court on Wednesday (Jan. 9), dismissing Judd’s claim with prejudice, which means it cannot be revived.
Judd — whose mother Naomi and sister Wynonna made country music history as the Judds — filed suit against Weinstein in April of 2017, alleging sexual harassment and defamation. The actress, whose films include A Time to Kill, Kiss the Girls and Double Jeopardy, alleged that Weinstein lured her to a hotel room on the premise of discussing a movie, then asked her to give him a massage and watch him take a shower. She says that when she refused, he harmed her career by making “false and malicious” statements about Judd to Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson.
Jackson has acknowledged that he stopped considering Judd for a role in the hit franchise as a result, but in a previous ruling in September of 2017, Gutierrez said Judd could not claim sexual harassment because she and Weinstein did not have an established professional relationship at the time of the alleged incident. He did allow her to proceed with her other claims against Weinstein, as well as amend her sexual harassment claim.
California has since passed an amended sexual harassment statute that added directors and producers to the list of professionals covered by the existing laws. Judd’s lawyers were arguing for the judge to apply the amended legislation retroactively, but Gutierrez rejected that argument in his ruling Wednesday, ruling that the changes do not apply in Judd’s case. The balance of her claims against Weinstein will move forward.
“The Court today dismissed only one of Ms. Judd’s four claims of relief. In doing so, it made clear that it was not determining whether Ms. Judd was sexually harassed in the colloquial sense of the term,” Judd’s attorney said in a statement to E! News. “It even acknowledged that the common meaning of the words in the statute would encompass her professional relationship with Mr. Weinstein. Nevertheless, the Court ruled that the statute does not apply here. 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.”
A representative for Weinstein portrayed the ruling differently in a statement to E! News, saying, “We have said from the beginning that this claim was unjustified, and we are pleased that the court saw it as we did, and we will ultimately prevail on her remaining claims.”
Judd was one of the very first women to go public with allegations of sexual harassment against Weinstein, who’s been one of the most powerful men in Hollywood for decades. Her claims helped spark the #MeToo movement, and since then, according to USA Today, more than 85 other women have come forward with allegations against the producer ranging from harassment to rape, intimidation and reprisal. Rosanna Arquette, Kate Beckinsale, Heather Graham, Daryl Hannah, Salma Hayek, Rose McGowan, Gwyneth Paltrow and more are among those who have publicly accused him, and he is the subject of multiple lawsuits and criminal court cases.