UPDATE: A spokesperson for Harvey Weinstein issued the following statement to EW regarding Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh’s claims (below):
EARLIER: Peter Jackson isn’t accepting Harvey Weinstein’s denial that he played a role in encouraging the Lord of the Rings director to avoid casting Ashley Judd and Mira Sorvino.
Published Friday, Jackson revealed to New Zealand publication Stuff that Judd and Sorvino were removed from casting discussions after Weinstein and brother Bob allegedly informed him the actresses were “a nightmare,” as part of what he now believes was a “Miramax smear campaign.”
In a statement to EW, Harvey Weinstein’s representatives side-stepped these claims, saying, “Mr. Weinstein has nothing but the utmost respect for Peter Jackson. However, as Mr. Jackson will probably remember, because Disney would not finance the Lord of the Rings, Miramax lost the project and all casting was done by New Line. While Bob and Harvey Weinstein were executive producers of the film they had no input into the casting whatsoever.”
Now, Jackson and producing partner and wife Fran Walsh are firing back. Read their full statement below:
In October, Judd went public with claims that Harvey Weinstein sexually harassed her in the ’90s, when, she alleges, he invited her to his hotel room and greeted her in a bathrobe, asking for a massage and to take a shower with him. “I said no, a lot of ways, a lot of times, and he always came back at me with some new ask,” Judd said to The New York Times. “It was all this bargaining, this coercive bargaining.” Sorvino, meanwhile, told The New Yorker‘s Ronan Farrow that Harvey Weinstein behaved inappropriately with her around the same time. “He started massaging my shoulders, which made me very uncomfortable, and then tried to get more physical, sort of chasing me around,” Sorvino claimed of an incident in a Toronto hotel room around the release of Mighty Aphrodite in 1995.
Weinstein has denied all allegations of non-consensual sex — as well as claims that he retaliated against women who rebuffed him. “Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein,” his representatives said in a statement released in October. “Mr. Weinstein has further confirmed that there were never any acts of retaliation against any women for refusing his advances. Mr. Weinstein obviously can’t speak to anonymous allegations, but with respect to any women who have made allegations on the record, Mr. Weinstein believes that all of these relationships were consensual. Mr. Weinstein has begun counseling, has listened to the community and is pursuing a better path. Mr. Weinstein is hoping that, if he makes enough progress, he will be given a second chance.”
A representative for Weinstein did not immediately reply to EW’s request for comment regarding Jackson and Walsh’s statement.
Sorvino and Judd both reacted to Jackson’s Stuff interview earlier Friday; Sorvino said she “burst out crying” at the “confirmation that Harvey Weinstein derailed my career,” while Judd recalled meeting Jackson and Walsh about the movie and then “abruptly never heard from [them] again.”
—With additional reporting by David Canfield