We have not read the rest of this week’s “Power of Women” Variety issue, but we have a hard time imagining that it contains anything more powerful than Ashley Judd’s conversation with New York film editor Ramin Setoodeh.
Judd has never been afraid to speak her mind. But it has taken until now for her to feel comfortable enough to publicly reveal a sickening episode in Hollywood in the late 1990s, which occurred in a hotel room and involved a mogul trying to get her to watch him shower:
“I was making Kiss the Girls at the time, and here I was, a declared feminist. I had completed a minor in what was then called women’s studies, which we now call gender studies. And yet I did not recognize at the time what was happening to me. It took years before I could evaluate that incident and realize that there was something incredibly wrong and illegal about it. And I think that’s what’s happening in Hollywood with regard to female crew members, above-the-line and below-the-line talent, and pay disparity. We’re individually and collectively coming to a realization and acceptance that this is an entrenched part of the reality, and I think that talking about it is essential to the process of becoming aware, accepting that this is reality and then ultimately taking action.
Judd details how “stealth and expert” the mogul was when it came to manipulating her to try and fulfill his devious desires. She also recalls what happened a few years later, when she encountered the unnamed individual again at the New York premiere for her film Double Jeopardy.
Judd says colleagues in the industry have told her they had the identical sort of experience with this perpetrator. She also suggests that it is no coincidence she has never made a film for his particular studio.
[Photo of Judd with Jane Fonda at 2015 White House Correspondents’ Dinner: Rena Schild/Shutterstock.com]