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Ashley Judd Says She Was Once Sexually Harassed By a Studio Executive

Read her story

Shelli Weinstein

For the first time Ashley Judd is speaking out about being sexually harassed by a studio mogul.

In an interview with Variety, the actress revealed that in the late '90s, while she was filming Kiss the Girls, she was sexually harassed by an exec from a rival studio who called her to his hotel room under the guise of discussing roles for her in his movies. The unnamed man is "one of our industry's most famous, admired-slash-reviled bosses," she said, and it took her years before she realized how truly wrong and illegal the situation had been.

Judd finally got herself out of the man's hotel room when, after several seemingly innocent requests for her to help him pick clothes or join him for meals, he asked her to watch him take a shower.

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"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,'" Judd recounts. "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."

For a while, Judd was hard on herself for how she handled the problem. "This is another part of the process," she said. "We internalize the shame. It really belongs to the person who is the aggressor. And so later, when I was able to see what happened, I thought: Oh god, that's wrong. That's sexual harassment. That's illegal."

But eventually Judd came to realize that she had been clever and self-preserving. She speaks out about the subject now because "We're all part of the problem, but we're all part of the solution."