LOS ANGELES — A federal judge in Los Angeles on Wednesday dismissed actress Ashley Judd’s sexual harassment claim against movie producer Harvey Weinstein but said she could proceed with a defamation claim against him.
Ms. Judd had accused Mr. Weinstein of defaming her in 1998 after she refused what she said were his sexual advances a year earlier. In her lawsuit, filed in April 2018, the Double Jeopardy actress accused Mr. Weinstein of smearing her reputation by discouraging director Peter Jackson from casting her in his blockbuster movie franchise The Lord of the Rings. Ms. Judd, one of the first women in October 2017 to publicly accuse Mr. Weinstein of sexual misconduct, had accused the Hollywood movie mogul of sexual harassment in violation of a California law barring such conduct by a person in a “business, service or professional relationship” with another. In a footnote to his ruling, US District Judge Philip Gutierrez said he was not determining whether Ms. Judd was sexually harassed by Mr. Weinstein “in the colloquial sense of the term.” But Mr. Gutierrez said that Ms. Judd’s relationship as an actress with the film producer was not covered under the California statute she had sued under, nor under a 2019 amendment. Mr. Weinstein is to stand trial in May in New York on five charges, including rape, involving two other women. — Reuters