April 30, 2018 / 11:59 PM / 25 days ago

American actress Ashley Judd sues Harvey Weinstein for defamation, sexual harassment

LOS ANGELES, April 30 (Reuters) - American actress Ashley Judd on Monday filed a defamation and sexual harassment lawsuit against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, alleging that he damaged her career after she refused his sexual advances.

The civil lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court in Santa Monica, alleges that Weinstein caused Judd to lose a part in 1998 in the film “The Lord of the Rings” by making “baseless smears” against her.

The lawsuit, reviewed by Reuters, alleges that Weinstein “was retaliating against Ms. Judd for rejecting his sexual demands approximately one year earlier, when he cornered her in a hotel room under the guise of discussing business.”

“Weinstein used his power in the entertainment industry to damage Ms. Judd’s reputation and limit her ability to find work,” the lawsuit added.

Weinstein has denied non-consensual sex with anyone. His spokesman did not immediately return a request for comment on Monday.

Judd was one of the first women in October 2017 to make an on the record allegation of sexual misconduct against Weinstein, which soon afterward evolved into the social media #MeToo movement against sexual harassment and assault. The Oscar-winning producer has since been accused of sexual impropriety by more than 70 women.

Judd, a leading member of the “Time’s Up” movement against sexual harassment in the workplace, is seeking unspecified damages and a jury trial.

Judd’s representative did not immediately return a call for comment.

The actress said in a statement to the New York Times that any financial recuperation from the lawsuit would be donated to Time’s Up “so that women and men in all professions may have legal redress for sexual harassment, economic retaliation and damage to their careers.”

Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Bill Tarrant

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