Harvey Weinstein is using photos from industry events and other material in a campaign to undermine his accusers’ claims, Ashley Judd told ABC News. In an exclusive interview unspooled this morning on Good Morning America, Diane Sawyer produced a photo of Judd smiling for cameras with her hand in Weinstein’s at an industry event subsequent to the sexual harassment she alleges. Weinstein’s camp has been dispensing photos like this one, Judd said, as more than 65 women have come forward, claiming to have been sexually harassed, assaulted and/or raped by the Hollywood mogul.
“That’s deny, attack, reverse the order of offender and victim,” Judd responded.
“It’s very gross,” she added.
Judd, who was interviewed on the record in The New York Times report on Weinstein that opened the floodgate, was a young actress when Weinstein allegedly cornered her in a hotel room under the guise of a business meeting.
Judd insisted that women who have come forward are not “fearless” as some have claimed, but are taking action despite their fear.
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The past 2+ weeks since the NYT piece have been “tearful and tremendously moving,” Judd said.
Judd described her encounter with Weinstein, when a business appointment was set up at a hotel. She was surprised when told he was in his hotel room. As other women have described, she said Weinstein began a strategy of insistent pressure and constant negotiation when she was in his suite. He asked to give her a massage, she said, then suggested she give him one, steering her into the hallway and toward the bathroom, where he wanted her to watch him take a shower.
Judd described how she quickly decided her best strategy: challenge him, saying, “When I win an Oscar in one of your movies, okay?”
“And then I just fled,” Judd said.
“Am I proud of that? I’m of two minds. The part that is ashamed of myself says no. The part that understands the way shame works says that was absolutely brilliant…You got out of there, well done.”
“We all do the best we can, and our best is good enough,” Judd said of all of Weinstein’s alleged victims. “It’s really okay to have responded, however we responded.”
She corrected those who say she and others should have come forward when it happened. “I’m not sure I would have been believed,” she said, given her relative anonymity at that time, and Weinstein’s status, as Sawyer described, as powerful industry “gateway.”
Weinstein’s reps continue to issue the statement: “Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein.”
ABC News plans to unveil more of the interview throughout the day, including David Muir’s evening newscast and late night’s Nightline.
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