Actress Ashley Judd is one of “Time” magazine’s People of the Year as one of “The Silence Breakers,” the group of people telling their stories of sexual assault. Ashley spoke to “The New York Times” for an October story in which she detailed an incident in 1997 in which movie mogul Harvey Weinstein allegedly asked her to a breakfast meeting in his hotel room. He greeted her in his robe, went on to ask her watch him take a shower and ultimately tried get her into bed.
That piece opened a floodgate of women telling their stories of alleged sexual assault by Harvey Weinstein as well as many other major figures across multiple fields. Ashley credits her mother, Naomi Judd, with giving her the support she needed when she came forward with the story.
Naomi had a very strong reaction when Ashley first told her about the incident 20 years ago.
In a new interview with “Access Hollywood,” Naomi recalls, “Right afterwards. She called and said, ‘You’re not going to believe what happened. Of course, I was so furious that something like that could happen to my kid and so furious about him. I knew immediately. I said, ‘I’m going to go out there and cut off his penis.'”
Naomi confirms the details Ashley told her all those years ago in the interview, too.
“She gets there, and he’s in his robe,” Naomi says of the hotel room incident. “He said, ‘Let’s order breakfast.’ She said, ‘I’m not hungry.’ Then he said, ‘Come to the bedroom, I want you to help me pick out my clothes for the day.’ Then, they were off to the races. She knew. One of the things he said was, ‘Watch me take a shower,’ so she was out of there.”
Before Ashley decided to write the piece in “The New York Times,” she asked Naomi for advice on coming forward with her story about Weinstein. When it happened, Ashley made sure to share her story with friends and family so they could spread the word to warn other women about him. As time marched on, she realized that whisper network wasn’t good enough.
Naomi says, “She came over and sat down and took my hand and said, ‘Mama, I need your opinion.’ She said, ‘I’m thinking of writing an article. Maybe I’ll give it to “The New York Times,” about Harvey Weinstein.’ She said, ‘You do remember everything.’ I said, ‘I remember everything.'”
Naomi writes openly about the childhood sexual abuse she experienced at the hands of an uncle in her book, “River of Time: My Descent Into Depression and How I Emerged with Hope.” She also was assaulted by a boyfriend while in her 20s, so Naomi identifies with her daughter Ashley’s feelings on the alleged Weinstein incident. He has denied the multiple claims made against him.
Ashley has said her mother encouraged her to share the story. In a clip run at the top of the “Access Hollywood” piece, Ashley says, “My mom gave me the encouragement to do this. She said, ‘Honey, go get ’em.’ She didn’t say it with aggression.”
Naomi Judd’s book, “River of Time,” is now available in paperback.