Seeking dismissal of the case filed against him by Ashley Judd, Harvey Weinstein has claimed he and the actor-activist had struck “‘ a bargain’ with respect to future sexual activity”.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Weinstein’s attorney Phyllis Kupferstein has claimed Judd has waited too long to sue.
The 50-year-old Judd was one of the first actors to go on record to accuse Weinstein of sexual abuse in the October 5 New York Times article, which exposed the now disgraced Hollywood producer.
In 2015, Judd had talked about being sexually harassed by a media mogul – whom she declined to name at the time. She later accused him of making sexual demands in a hotel room about 20 years ago – an encounter she allegedly only escaped after relenting to a deal where she would let him touch her if she won an Academy Award.
Later, Judd said she was in serious discussions for a big role in Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings”, but she missed the bus after Weinstein or someone at Miramax (then Weinstein’s banner) told the director that she was a “nightmare” to work with – allegations for which she is currently suing.
Attorney Kupferstein states in a motion to dismiss, “Plaintiff certainly knew of the alleged sexual harassment and her injuries, if any, at the time of the hotel encounter. She further knew she was not cast in ‘LOTR’ by the time filming began (the first film in the trilogy was released in December 2001), but claims she did not know until late 2017 that Weinstein was purportedly behind the casting decision.
“However, Plaintiff admits she made no inquiries about why she was not cast in the film because she did not want to upset Jackson. Accordingly, her failure to file a timely complaint is due to her own lack of reasonable diligence and not any affirmative misconduct on Weinstein’s part.”
Judd has also gone on record to say Weinstein ruined her career and she has also claimed that she did not discover the producer’s alleged statements until an interview with Jackson was published last year.
But Weinstein’s legal brief contends that Judd “fails to plead that she and Weinstein had the kind of professional relationship grounded in trust covered by the Act, or that the purported harassment she experienced from Weinstein was severe or pervasive especially since Plaintiff alleged it was a one-time event and she and Weinstein struck, in Plaintiff’s words, ‘a bargain’ with respect to future sexual activity.”
As for the defamation claim, Weinstein challenges statements as non-actionable opinion and faults Judd for not alleging that any comments specifically gave rise to her economic harm.
The allegation met with outrage and disgust from the actor’s attorney, Theodore J Boutrous, who denied there was such a deal and said that Judd was simply trying to escape Weinstein’s clutches.
“Mr Weinstein’s arguments seeking to escape the consequences of his despicable misconduct are not only baseless, they are offensive. We look forward to opposing his flawed motion, moving forward with discovery into his outrageous behaviour and proving to a jury that Mr Weinstein maliciously damaged Ms Judd’s career because she resisted his sexual advances,” Boutrous said.