Ashley Judd has won the right to pursue a sexual harassment claim against Harvey Weinstein.
The 52-year-old actress claimed she lost out on a part in 'The Lord of the Rings' after she rejected the shamed movie mogul's sexual advances in a defamation lawsuit filed in April 2018
And the actress originally had her claim thrown out of court after a judge ruled that their producer/actress relationship was not covered by the law, and that Weinstein - who is currently serving 23 years in prison for two other charges relating to sexual abuse - did not hold power over her career when he invited her to his hotel room in the mid-1990s.
However, after Ashley filed an appeal to overturn the verdict, the three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the decision on Wednesday (29.07.20) and have allowed the actress to pursue legal action.
Judge Mary H. Murguia said: "Their relationship consisted of an inherent power imbalance wherein Weinstein was uniquely situated to exercise coercion or leverage over Judd by virtue of his professional position and influence as a top producer in Hollywood. Therefore, the district court erred when it dismissed Judd's sexual harassment claim.
'That is, by virtue of his professional position and influence as a top producer in Hollywood, Weinstein was uniquely situated to exercise coercive power or leverage over Judd, who was a young actor at the beginning of her career at the time of the alleged harassment. Moreover, given Weinstein's highly influential and 'unavoidable' presence in the film industry, the relationship was one that would have been difficult to terminate 'without tangible hardship' to Judd, whose livelihood as an actor depended on being cast for roles."
The case will now go back to the district court and proceed on all claims.
Ashley's claim was originally dismissed despite laws being changed to cover producer/actress relationships in 2018 following the increase in women coming forward to accuse Hollywood moguls of sexual misconduct.
But the judge in Ashley's case claimed the change to the law could not be applied retroactively, meaning her claim fell outside of the law.