Ashley Judd slams 'institutional betrayal' after Harvey Weinstein's rape conviction is overturned

Ashley Judd slams 'institutional betrayal' after Harvey Weinstein's rape conviction is overturned

"This is what it's like to be a woman in America," said the actress, who previously went public with allegations of sexual harassment against the disgraced movie producer.

Actress Ashley Judd, who previously accused disgraced movie producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment, has slammed what she called "institutional betrayal" after Weinstein's 2020 rape conviction was overturned Thursday in New York.

"This is what it’s like to be a woman in America, living with male entitlement to our bodies,” the 56-year-old actress said of the development during an afternoon press conference, before recounting her own allegations against Weinstein, which she said occurred in a hotel room, between her filming the 1997 movie Kiss the Girls.

"When survivors tell their stories, they’re exercising a powerful form of leadership that sparks others to join in shared action that catalyzes change," Judd continued. "We understand that leadership is exercising principles and values in the face of uncertainty, and that’s what we leaders and survivors do. This, today, is an act of institutional betrayal, and our institutions betray survivors of male sexual violence."

<p>Shannon Finney/Getty</p> Ashley Judd

Shannon Finney/Getty

Ashley Judd

Judd's statement came after the State of New York’s Court of Appeals found that the judge who originally presided over the 2020 case, Justice James M. Burke, acted erroneously when he allowed the jury to hear testimony from some of Weinstein's alleged victims, despite their allegations not being part of the charges outlined in the trial. The proceedings ended with Weinstein being found guilty and convicted of a criminal sex act in the first degree and third-degree rape. He was sentenced to 23 years in prison. (This conviction did not involve Judd.)

"We have so much to offer. We need to be able to contribute without fear, without terror, of violence, of our voices being muted," Judd said at the conference, after noting that she heard the news from Jodi Kantor, one of the New York Times journalists she worked with to tell her story about Weinstein in a 2017 bombshell exposé detailing numerous allegations against the producer.

Kantor, writer Meghan Twohey, and Judd's work was dramatized in the 2022 scripted film She Said, in which Judd appeared as herself.

Also in 2022, a Los Angeles jury found Weinstein guilty of raping and sexually assaulting a woman, and he was ultimately sentenced to 16 years in prison aside from his prior New York sentencing.

A representative for Weinstein did not immediately respond to Entertainment Weekly's request for comment on Thursday.

Arthur Aidala, Weinstein's lawyer, praised the court in a statement to The New York Times, thanking it "for upholding the most basic principles that a criminal defendant should have in a trial."

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