Ashley Judd was a key figure in making long-whispered allegations of sexual harassment against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein public. Now there is a growing chorus of condemnation of the disgraced producer and executive, including from some of Judd’s fellow Kentuckians.
Louisville-native Jennifer Lawrence, who won an Oscar for her performance in The Weinstein Company production “Silver Linings Playbook” (2012), said in a statement to Variety, “I was deeply disturbed to hear the news about Harvey Weinstein’s behavior. I worked with Harvey five years ago and I did not experience any form of harassment personally, nor did I know about any of these allegations. This kind of abuse is inexcusable and absolutely upsetting. My heart goes out to all of the women affected by these gross actions. And I want to thank them for their bravery to come forward.”
Lexington-native and Augusta-raised George Clooney also acknowledged Weinstein’s role in launching his career — one of his breakthrough roles was in “From Dusk till Dawn” (1996), produced by Weinstein’s Miramax company, and his directorial debut was Miramax’s “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind” (2002) — but gave executive no quarter in statements reported by The Daily Beast: “It’s indefensible. That’s the only word you can start with. Harvey’s admitted to it, and it’s indefensible. I’ve known Harvey for 20 years. ... We’ve had dinners, we’ve been on location together, we’ve had arguments. But I can tell you that I’ve never seen any of this behavior — ever.”
The Beast published a lengthy Q&A with Clooney, in which he addressed numerous topics related to the allegations, including the belief that many people in Hollywood knew about Weinstein’s actions and didn’t say anything.
“A lot of people are doing the ‘you had to know’ thing right now, and yes, if you’re asking if I knew that someone who was very powerful had a tendency to hit on young, beautiful women, sure,” Clooney said. “But I had no idea that it had gone to the level of having to pay off eight women for their silence, and that these women were threatened and victimized.”
Clooney and Lawrence were joined by stars such as Meryl Streep, Judi Dench and Kate Winslet, all of whom also have had career highlights in projects involving Weinstein.
Allegations of sexual harassment became public last week in a New York Times story that started with Judd recounting in incident with Weinstein early in her career. Since then Weinstein has been fired from his role at The Weinstein company, which will be renamed.
Rich Copley: @copiousnotes