Ashley Judd calls Weinstein scandal "tipping point" on sexual harassment

Ashley Judd accepts the WMC Speaking Truth To Power Award onstage at the Women's Media Center 2017 Women's Media Awards on October 26, 2017 in New York City. 

Mike Coppola/Getty Images

NEW YORK — Ashley Judd says the Harvey Weinstein scandal can effect real change for women. The actress said the continuing flurry of allegations against Weinstein means society is at a "tipping point" on sexual harassment. But she added that "this will be the end of it if we decide that's what we want."

The actress spoke about about the impact of the public accusations Thursday at the Women's Media Center Awards in New York, where she was being honored. 

Judd was one of the first to open up about her personal account of harassment by Weinstein in recent weeks. Judd spoke to The New York Times for one of the investigative reports that led to the movie mogul's downfall. 

She says she feels loved, adored and supported after coming forward with her story.

Also attending the event was attorney Gloria Allred, who is representing some of Weinstein's accusers. She says Judd has started an "important conversation nationally" and "anyone who preys on women in the workplace is on notice."

On Thursday, Judd spoke to "Good Morning America" and recounted how she made a sort of pact with Weinstein after he came on to her in his hotel suite two decades ago.

Weinstein first offered to give her a massage, then, when she demurred, asked her to give him one.

She says she refused to sit down and surveyed the floor plan of the suite to plot her escape.

"I thought 'no' meant no," she says. "I fought with this volley of no's."

Then she made a "deal." She says she agreed to submit to him, but only "when I win an Oscar in one of your movies — OK?"

"When you get NOMINATED," Weinstein counter-offered.

"And I said, 'No. When I WIN an Oscar.' And then I just fled."

Judd said she remains of two minds about how she handled the shocking situation.

"Am I proud of that? The part that shames myself says, 'No.' The part of me that understands the way shame works says, 'That was absolutely brilliant. Good job, kid, you got out of there. Well done!'"

Judd was among the first of what has become dozens of women alleging sexual harassment or assault by Weinstein, who has been fired from the company he co-founded with his brother and is now under criminal investigation for rape in London, New York and Los Angeles.

Judd says a couple of years after the hotel encounter she was seated across from Weinstein at a dinner. She says he brought up "that little agreement we made," and claimed he was "looking around for the material."

Then he looked at her and said, "You know, Ashley, I'm going to let you out of that little agreement that we made."

Judd says by then "I had come into my own, I had come into my power, I had found my voice. And I said, 'You do that, Harvey. You DO that.'

"And he has spat my name at me ever since."