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Ashley Judd opened up about her encounters with Harvey Weinstein in her first TV interview since the publication of a New York Times exposé three weeks ago alleging that Weinstein had engaged in decades of sexual harassment, with Judd named as one of his many victims.
Judd spoke out about her experience with Weinstein in the Times, and she told ABC News’ Diane Sawyer, in a sit-down that aired in part on Thursday’s (Oct. 26) Good Morning America, that she went for a run before she decided to reveal what happened to her to try to get her mind clear. She added that she talked with both her dad and her mom, Naomi Judd, and her mom said, “Go get him.”
Judd tells Sawyer that she hadn’t heard stories about Weinstein’s alleged behavior before she was summoned to meet with him in his hotel room at the Peninsula in Beverly Hills two decades ago, and she had no reason to be wary of him.
“I had no warning,” she said.
Still, when she went to the concierge to ask where she should meet Weinstein, assuming he’d be on the patio, she was told, “He’s in his room.”
Judd closed her eyes and recoiled when she recalled that to Sawyer and said she thought, “You’re kidding me.”
She went up, she said, because, “I had a business appointment.”
But she recognizes now, as more than 60 women have come forward with claims that Weinstein sexually harassed or assaulted them, that taking women to his hotel room was his m.o., she told Sawyer.
“That was his pattern of sexual predation. That’s how he rolled,” she said.
Judd recounted her experience with Weinstein, saying, “I fought with this volley of no’s. He ignored the no’s. Maybe he heard them as ‘maybe.’ Maybe he heard them as yeses. ”
“Finally I just said, ‘When I win an Oscar in one of your movies, OK?’ He said, ‘Yeah, when you get nominated.’ I said, ‘No, when I win an Oscar.’ And then I just fled,” Judd told Sawyer. “Am I proud of that? I’m of two minds. The part that shames myself says no. The part of me that understands how shame works says, ‘That was absolutely brilliant. Good job, kid. You got out of there. Well done.’ It’s a very important word, ‘shame,’ and it’s a very important thing to talk about. We all do the best we can. Our best is good enough. And it’s really OK to have responded however we responded.”
Judd, Sawyer reported, told her she had trouble grasping what happened but she told her parents enough that they understood how shaken she was, and she told fellow actors, agents and other people who worked in Hollywood, in private.
When reflecting on why it took her so long to come forward, Judd said she didn’t know if she would’ve helped prevent such behavior if she’d spoken up earlier.
“I don’t know that I would’ve been believed,” she said. “Who was I to tell? I knew it was disgusting. Was I going to tell the concierge who sent me up to the room?”
Judd and Sawyer also examined a photo from that time period, released by Weinstein himself to show that the two of them were friends and getting along fine. In the picture, from an event, Weinstein has grasped her hand and has his arm around her.
When Sawyer showed it to Judd she said, “Ick!”
As for the story behind the picture, Judd said, “I hoped I wouldn’t pass him, but I did and he obviously grabbed my hand. It’s like, the look on my face is abject terror. You can see it in my eyes. It’s very gross. I feel for that 28-, 29-year-old woman.”
Earlier, Judd was tearful when Sawyer asked if she could’ve imagined that at some point so many people would be talking about what she experienced.
In a second clip that aired on GMA, Sawyer played audio of women who spoke out about their own experiences of sexual harassment in the workplace.
Judd also revealed what she’d tell Harvey Weinstein now and what she believes should happen to him.
Sawyer made it clear that Judd doesn’t forgive what Weinstein did to women, and the journalist said that Judd’s approach to him now comes from her deep faith.
“I love you, and I understand that you are sick and suffering. And there is help for a guy like you, too. And it’s entirely up to you to get that help,” Judd said.
When Sawyer said those comments would surprise people, the actress choked up as she said, “It’s just who I am. It’s frankly an easier way to roll through the world than the alternative.”
And she believes that there’s “hope and help for everyone.”
“It has to be the appropriate help. There has to be a real, profound understanding on the part of the sexual predator that what they were doing was wrong and criminal,” she said.
Still, when asked whether Weinstein should go to jail, Judd said, “If he’s a rapist, he absolutely should go to jail.”
And she was hopeful that men and women could change the culture of harassment.
“This is the moment and if we want it to be the moment, it for sure will be the moment,” she said.
In a third clip posted to ABC News’ website later Thursday morning, Judd offered her suggestions for what women and men should be able to say to one another to stop sexual harassment and what parents should tell their children.
7:14 a.m., 7:30 a.m. This story has been updated with an additional clip of Judd’s sit-down with Sawyer.
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