Actress Ashley Judd was one of the first women to publicly speak out against former movie mogul Harvey Weinstein and in May of last year she filed a lawsuit against him alleging that her career was damaged by lies he spread about her in Hollywood after she spurned his sexual advances.
On January 9, a federal judge in California dismissed a portion of her suit, stating that her sexual harassment allegations did not fall within a specific legal statute. According to the New York Times, Judge Philip Gutierrez’s order was clear in saying that he was not ruling as to whether or not Judd as sexually harassed “in the colloquial sense of the term” but that the law could not be applied because she did not have a “specific business arrangement” with Weinstein at the time, which is a legal requirement.
So basically, the judge is not saying that Judd’s claim that Weinstein appeared in a bathrobe during a business meeting and asked her to let him massage her and watch him shower didn’t happen, just that it’s not sexual harassment under the California law because recent changes to the statue mandate that sexual harassment only applies if there is a specific business relationship between the parties. (The judge also did not state that it did happen.) That sounds like a pretty messed up law to me, especially given that Judd says the meeting was indeed about business.
Weinstein has continued to deny Judd’s accusations. “We have said from the beginning that this claim was unjustified, and we are pleased that the court saw it as we did,” Phyllis Kupferstein, one of Weinstein’s lawyers, said in a statement. “We believe that we will ultimately prevail on her remaining claims.”
Despite the recent setback, Judd is continuing with the rest of her case. “Nothing about today’s ruling changes that Ms. Judd’s case is moving forward on multiple claims,” Theodore J. Boutrous Jr., her lead attorney, said in a statement to the Times.