Many of the women sexually harassed, abused or intimidated by Harvey Weinstein have said he threatened to ruin their reputations if they didn’t do what he wanted.
Now director Peter Jackson has confirmed that Weinstein warned him not to cast Ashley Judd or Mira Sorvino, who both say they rejected Weinstein’s advances.
Jackson was pitching his Lord of the Rings films to Weinstein’s company Miramax in the late nineties when Harvey blacklisted Judd and Sorvino, both major Hollywood stars at the time – Judd had been in Double Jeopardy and Kiss The Girls, while Sorvino had had major success with Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion.
“I recall Miramax telling us they were a nightmare to work with and we should avoid them at all costs. This was probably in 1998,” Jackson told Stuff NZ.
“At the time, we had no reason to question what these guys were telling us – but in hindsight, I realise that this was very likely the Miramax smear campaign in full swing.”
“I now suspect we were fed false information about both of these talented women – and as a direct result their names were removed from our casting list.”
Sorvino responded to the news by tweeting that she had “burst out crying”.
“Just seeing this after I awoke, I burst out crying. There it is, confirmation that Harvey Weinstein derailed my career, something I suspected but was unsure.
“Thank you Peter Jackson for being honest. I’m just heartsick.”
Judd was less surprised, tweeting a link to the story with the comment “I remember this well.”
Jackson, who won the Oscar for Best Director for Lord of the Rings, said he didn’t end up working with Weinstein and Miramax because they were “bullies”.
“My experience, when Miramax controlled the Lord of the Rings (before New Line took over production of the film), was of Weinstein and his brother behaving like second-rate Mafia bullies.
“They weren’t the type of guys I wanted to work with – so I haven’t,” he said.
Sorvino accused Weinstein of getting her alone in a hotel room, massaging her shoulders and then “chasing” her around when she moved away from him in the New Yorker’s expose about him.
A few weeks later he called her at home in New York and said he wanted to meet up to discuss potential film roles. She offered to meet him at a late-night diner, but he said he was coming to her apartment and hung up.
She called a male friend to come over and pose as her boyfriend, but he didn’t arrive before Weinstein.
“Harvey had managed to bypass my doorman,” she said. “I opened the door terrified, brandishing my twenty-pound Chihuahua mix in front of me, as though that would do any good.”
When the male friend showed up, Weinstein apparently became upset and left.
As now confirmed by Peter Jackson, she felt rejecting Weinstein hurt her career.
“There may have been other factors, but I definitely felt iced out and that my rejection of Harvey had something to do with it.”
Meanwhile Judd was the first A-list actress to make allegations against Weinstein.
Once, alone in a hotel room with Harvey, she was so certain he was about to rape her she bargained her way out of the situation.
“Finally I just said, ‘When I win an Oscar in one of your movies [I’ll have sex with you], OK?’ And he was like, ‘Yeah, when you get nominated.’ And I said, ‘No! When I win an Oscar.’ And I fled. I just fled.”
That night, he asked her for a massage and then to watch him take a shower.
“I fought with this volley of no’s, which he ignored,” Judd said.
“Who knows? Maybe he heard them as maybe. Maybe he heard them as yeses. Maybe they turned him on.”