S p r e a d i n g T h e Word

Esquire (Singapore) - - Feature -

Judd is an ac­tor known for her roles in movies like Diver­gent and Kiss the Girls as well as the TV se­ries Miss­ing (for which she re­ceived an Emmy nod). She’s also a pas­sion­ate hu­man­i­tar­ian and po­lit­i­cal ac­tivist who has worked ex­ten­sively to fight poverty and pro­mote pub­lic health every­where from Cam­bo­dia to Rwanda. In the past decade, she has earned a bach­e­lor’s de­gree in French at the Uni­ver­sity of Ken­tucky and a mas­ter’s of pub­lic ad­min­is­tra­tion at Har­vard, and she’s work­ing on a doc­tor­ate in pub­lic pol­icy at UC Berke­ley. In 2015, she dis­closed that she had been sex­u­ally ha­rassed by a movie mogul, and this past Oc­to­ber she iden­ti­fied him as Har­vey We­in­stein, help­ing to give rise to an out­pour­ing of ac­counts from women speak­ing out about sex­ual ha­rass­ment at the hands of in­flu­en­tial men.

Adam Grant: Did you know you were go­ing to fuel this mas­sive so­cial-jus­tice move­ment? Ash­ley Judd: What a ques­tion. I knew that God was tak­ing care of me. I knew that I was do­ing the right thing at the right time, and I had a sig­nif­i­cant peace about my de­ci­sion-mak­ing process.

Of course, I had told my par­tic­u­lar story about Har­vey We­in­stein sex­u­ally ha­rass­ing me and com­ing very close to as­sault­ing me many times to many peo­ple, in­clud­ing in great de­tail to Va­ri­ety in 2015 [with­out dis­clos­ing his name]. The dif­fer­ence in 2017 was that folks were ready to hear it, and so I give our so­ci­ety and our cul­ture more credit than I give my­self.

I think it’s un­fold­ing ex­actly as it can and should. There’s grap­pling with def­i­ni­tions—per­sonal, le­gal, so­cial—of what com­prises ha­rass­ment. I think that the con­ver­sa­tion is, in all its messi­ness, glo­ri­ous. We can’t ex­pect a to­tal so­cial revo­lu­tion to be tidy. We Judd at last year’s Women’s March on Wash­ing­ton. She ap­peared on TIME mag­a­zine’s 2017 Per­son of the Year cover as a “Si­lence Breaker.”

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