She was the stone that broke the surface in dismantling the reputation of film producer Harvey Weinstein. She named him as an alleged sexual predator. And, since her experience was published in The New York Times not three weeks ago, more than 60 other women – actresses, models, former employees – have shared their own stories of being allegedly harassed or raped at Weinstein’s hands.
In her first interview since that expose was published, Ashley Judd has revealed more of Weinstein’s alleged behaviour and shared an important message for victims sexual assault everywhere.
Speaking to Diane Sawyer of Good Morning America on Thursday morning, Judd said she was given no warning of Weinstein’s habits before agreeing to meet him at a hotel regarding “business”.
But, when she was told by the concierge that the meeting would take place in Weinstein’s room, she “felt her stomach lurch”.
She knocked on the door and was allegedly immediately propositioned.
“I thought ‘no’ meant ‘no’ but there’s this constant grooming, negotiating going on,” Judd told Sawyer.
She said he pushed her into the closet, asking her to choose his outfit for the day. She could see the bathroom ahead of her and knew she had no escape. He allegedly asked her to watch him shower.
“I had totally frozen in my mind the floor plan of the room”.
She was there, allegedly trapped in the hallway between the closet and the bathroom, doing everything she could to fend him off for close to 10 minutes.
“I thought when I said ‘no’ that we would move on. But it turned into this volley of ‘nos’, which he ignored. Maybe he heard them as ‘maybes’; maybe he heard them as ‘yeses’; maybe they turned him on. I don’t know.”
She said the only way she could think of to leave was by making a deal and 'agreeing' to have sex with him at a later date.
"Finally, I told him 'yeah, when I win an Oscar in one of your movies, okay?'" Judd said.
"He said 'yeah, when you get nominated'. And I said 'NO, when I win an Oscar'. And then I just fled. I just fled."
The desperation paints a chilling picture of Weinstein.
"Am I proud of that? I'm of two minds," Judd said. "The part that shames myself says 'no'. The part of me that understands the way shame works says: 'That was absolutely brilliant. Good job kid, you got out of there. Well done'."
And that word - shame - is one Judd wants to address for all victims of sexual assault.
"It's a very important word 'shame', and it's a very important thing to talk about," she said. "We all do the best we can and our best is good enough."
"It's really okay to have responded, however we've responded, in that moment."
LISTEN: The Harvey Weinstein saga unpacked.