Ashley Judd, one of the first women to speak out with sexual harassment allegations against disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein, triggering the #MeToo movement, has defended James Franco after he was accused of sexual misconduct by five women.
She didn’t defend his actions, obviously, but she applauded his response.
“If there’s restitution to be made, I will make it,” Franco, 39, told CBS’ The Late Show last Tuesday. “I pride myself on taking responsibility for things that I have done.”
“The things that I heard that were on Twitter are not accurate, but I completely support people coming out and being able to have a voice because they didn’t have a voice for so long, so I don’t want to shut them down in any way. I think that it’s a good thing and I support it.”
Five women have publicly accused Franco of sexual harassment. Alleging that he would frequently ask female students at his acting school to audition for parts as prostitutes or hookers. That he would request they take their tops off during scenes. That he once removed vaginal safety guards to perform oral sex on women in an orgy scene. And one woman alleges he pressured her into giving him oral sex.
Now, speaking to the BBC, Judd said she thinks James’ response is “terrific”.
“I think that what James said is terrific,” she said, Vulture reports. “And I think that we’ve all behaved — at a certain level — unconsciously, and done things that were insensitive, inappropriate, without necessarily understanding that they were.”
“I mean we’ve all operated with a certain amount of tone-deafness, and I like the culpability, and we have to have restorative justice. This is about men and women being all together and having a more equitable and just workplace, home life, social spaces.”
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There is a spectrum, Judd continued, of abusive behaviour.
Harvey Weinstein, for example, has been accused of both abuse and rape. And the waterfall of allegations against other Hollywood heavyweights that followed those against Weinstein have included accusations of inappropriate propositions, masturbation in office rooms, groping, asking for sexual favours, and ignoring non-verbal and verbal cues in sexual exploitation.
“I think it’s fantastic to have the conversation, and starting to articulate and identify and have a gradient of behaviors — and understand there is a spectrum of behavior — that is so important,” she said.
“Unless we talk about this, and tease each part of it out, we can’t understand what is unacceptable and what is.”