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Ashley Judd, Others Detail Alleged Assault by Harvey Weinstein

Ashley Judd has gone on the record to accuse Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment.

Ashley Judd has gone on the record to accuse Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment. 

A New York Times expose published on Thursday alleges “decades of sexual harassment” by The Weinstein Co. mogul. Weinstein “has reached at least eight settlements with women” the paper reported, citing two unnamed sources. 

“I said no, a lot of ways, a lot of times, and he always came back at me with some new ask,” Judd told the Times. “It was all this bargaining, this coercive bargaining.”

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The explosive investigation paints a toxic if not complicated picture of one of Hollywood’s most notorious film executives. It also brings to light many long-standing rumors about his conduct, both in the office and outside.

The Times article, bylined by investigative reporters Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, arrives a day after news broke that the paper, along with The New Yorker magazine, were independently pursuing stories about the personal behavior of Weinstein. 

Weinstein, 65, hired multiple attorneys and several PR crisis consultants in an effort to combat the story, including celebrity lawyer Lisa Bloom and Charles Harder, who represented Hulk Hogan in its fight with the now defunct website Gawker. 

The Times article opens with Judd’s account that she had been sexually harassed in a hotel room at the Peninsula Beverly Hills two decades ago. She details that he met her wearing a bathrobe, only to ask the actress, who had arrived to the room after a night shoot filming Kiss the Girls, if she would give him a massage or watch him shower.

By naming him, Judd confirms that a story published in Variety two years ago on this exact date was about Weinstein. That widely-circulated article detailed the Peninsula encounter but at the time she declined to name him.

Judd added that it was necessary to come forward now: “Women have been talking about Harvey amongst ourselves for a long time, and it’s simply beyond time to have the conversation publicly.”

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The Times reports that in total, eight women shared stories similar to Judd’s, that Weinstein had a pattern of alleged misconduct. He would appear “nearly or fully naked in front of them, requiring them to be present while he bathed or repeatedly asking for a massage or initiating one himself,” reports the Times.

Weinstein participated in the interview, offering a statement and reporting that he has elected to take a leave of absence to “deal with this issue head on.”

“I appreciate the way I’ve behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologize for it,” reads Weinstein’s statement. “Though I’m trying to do better, I know I have a long way to go.”

Weinstein also added: “I came of age in the 60’s and 70’s, when all the rules about behavior and workplaces were different. That was the culture then.”

He also told the paper he was planning a leave of absence from his company and will be politically active in campaigning against the National Rifle Association.

According to attorney Lisa Bloom, who has reportedly been advising Weinstein over the last year, the mogul is “an old dinosaur learning new ways,” who uses “words and behaviors can be perceived as inappropriate, even intimidating.”

More to come. 

This story was originally published by The Hollywood Reporter