She Said: the true story of Ashley Judd vs. Harvey Weinstein

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She Said, the 2022 movie directed by Maria Schrader, has finally landed on Amazon Prime for the streaming audience. It’s the drama based on the true story of how two investigative reporters from The New York Times discovered and revealed the long sequence of abuses Harvey Weinstein perpetrated for years. The movie explores the efforts of reporters Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey in letting the truth emerge, and many protagonists of that story were involved. The most important role was played by Ashley Judd, who plays herself as the first woman to go on record about the abuses. Let’s discover the importance of her statement in those days.

You can watch the official trailer for She Said here on Youtube.

She Said: the true story of Ashley Judd vs. Harvey Weinstein

The 2022 film She Said tells the true story of how The New York Times reporters Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey revealed the truth about the sexual abuses perpetrated by Harvey Weinstein on the actresses and the employees working with him at Miramax. Weinstein founded Miramax with his brother Bob in 1979 and worked there as a film producer until 2017, being fired three days after the scandal became public.

Based on the accusations that came out after the article posted by The New York Times, Harvey Weinstein used to invite employees and actresses working for him into his hotel rooms with the excuse of a meeting. After meeting her, he pushed them to have physical contact like massages or sexual acts. According to the testimonies of the protagonists, he used to explain that “it’s just work,” it’s the way the movie industry works. Many women couldn’t refuse, intimidated by his attitude, whereas many others managed to go away, with severe repercussions over their careers.

The movie She Said tells the true story of the reporters who revealed these abuses. Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey needed considerable effort to find enough evidence and invite victims to speak out. Many women couldn’t talk because they signed settlements with Weinstein, promising never to reveal what happened. In the plot, we discover how crucial became the role of Ashley Judd: she was the first victim who bravely decided to go on record with her name as one of Weinstein’s victims.

What happened to Ashley Judd? Her story is explained in the original article that triggered the scandal, posted by The New York Times on October 5, 2017. As she explained, in the 90s, Harvey Weinstein invited Ashley Judd to the Peninsula Beverly Hills hotel for a business breakfast. Once arrived, Judd was sent up to his room. Weinstein “appeared in a bathrobe and asked if he could give her a massage or she could watch him shower,” the NYT article explains. You can find below the part where Ashley Judd shares details about what happened that day:

“Mr. Weinstein soon issued invitation after invitation, she said. Could he give her a massage? When she refused, he suggested a shoulder rub. She rejected that too, she recalled. He steered her toward a closet, asking her to help pick out his clothing for the day, and then toward the bathroom. Would she watch him take a shower? she remembered him saying.

“I said no, a lot of ways, a lot of times, and he always came back at me with some new ask,” Ms. Judd said. “It was all this bargaining, this coercive bargaining.”

To get out of the room, she said, she quipped that if Mr. Weinstein wanted to touch her, she would first have to win an Oscar in one of his movies. She recalled feeling “panicky, trapped,” she said in the interview.

A considerable part of the scandal refers to what Harvey Weinstein used to do against those women who refused his advances. Ashley Judd was one of them, and as the truth emerged in those months, Weinstein used his authority to block the development of her acting career. A few weeks later, Peter Jackson (who directed Lord of the Rings for Miramax) admitted on Twitter that he was forced by Harvey Weinstein to change his mind about casting actresses like Ashley Judd or Mira Sorvino, claiming that “they were a nightmare to work with and we should avoid them at all costs.” Assuming that Weinstein had no reason to lie, Jackson followed his advice, but he was one of the first to publicly support the truth in 2017 when the scandal came out. You can read the full story in this article on Variety, and here is Ashley Judd’s tweet confirming it.

The truth became public thanks to Ashley Judd’s story and other women like Lauren O’Connor, Emily Nestor, and Laura Madden, who decided to publicly accuse Weinstein. It was the birth of the #MeToo movement that invited all movie industry victims to publicly share their stories of abuse.

On Wikipedia, you can find the complete list of all women who accused Harvey Weinstein over the years. They are more than 100, and 19 of them are rape accusations.

In March 2020, Harvey Weinstein was found guilty of rape and criminal sexual acts, and the judge sentenced him to 23 years in prison. A separate trial started right away about a different series of abuses, leading to a new sentence in February 2023, adding 16 more years in jail.

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