S p r e a d i n g T h e Word
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.”