Ashley Judd has revealed that she was repeatedly sexually harassed by studio executive in the 90s around the time she was filming for psychological thriller Kiss The Girls.
The actress told Variety that the unnamed executive from a rival studio would request she join him in his hotel room by inviting her for something to eat, or asking her to help him choose what to wear.
The 47-year-old Divergent star says that things escalated when he asked her to watch him shower
"In that moment, I told him something like, ‘When I win an Academy award in one of your movies.’ He said, ‘No, when you get nominated.’ I said, ‘No, no, when I win an Academy Award’ .
"When I kept saying no to everything, there was a huge asymmetry of power and control in that room."
Judd was never offered a role by the studio and explained that she beat herself up for a long time before realising that the situation was completely wrong.
"He was very stealth and expert about it. He groomed me, which is a technical term -- 'Oh, come meet at the hotel for something to eat,'" she says. "Fine, I show up. 'Oh, he’s actually in his room.' I’m like, 'Are you kidding me? I just worked all night. I’m just going to order cereal.' It went on in these stages."
Judd adds that she "did not recognize at the time what was happening to me. It took years before I could evaluate the incident and realize there was something incredibly wrong and illegal about it."
The actress says she met the executive in question again years later, at a film premiere.
"I was no longer that naïve ingénue who couldn’t identify what was happening as it was happening," she says. "I was getting ready to nail him on it, and he said, 'I think I’ll let you out of that deal we made.' He knew I would come into my power."
Judd speaks out at a time when sexism is a hotly debated topic in Hollywood. She joins the growing number of actors who are sharing their experiences and standing up against the issue.
Rose McGowan has started a movement against sexism after she was fired by her agent for publicly exposing a casting call in which all the women were asked to wear push-up bras and show off their cleavage.
Patricia Arquette seized the opportunity of the audience when she accepted her Oscar for best supporting actress earlier this year to criticize the wage gap between men and women in the industry.
Sienna Miller recently revealed that she had turned down a play due to unequal pay, while Keira Knightley has questioned:
"Where are the female stories? Where are they? Where are the directors, where are the writers?
"It’s imbalanced, so given that we are half the cinema-going public, we are half the people [who] watch drama or watch anything else, where is that? So yes, I think the pay is a huge thing, but I’m actually more concerned over the lack of our voices being heard."
Anne Hathaway said that she is already experiencing ageism (at just 32) that men don’t face, echoing Helen Mirren’s anger at the issue.
And of course there is Emma Watson, who is standing up for equality not only in Hollywood but on a global scale.