After Harvey Weinstein’s extensive history of sexual harassment and assault allegations were exposed, so too were the former film executive’s disturbingly zealous attempts to silence his victims. As many of the brave women to come forward have revealed, Weinstein often threatened to ruin their careers, and some of them found their Hollywood access limited as a result of rejecting or attempting to speak out against his aggressive advances. Still, questions have lingered about exactly how Weinstein effectively stifled the careers of these actresses, including Ashley Judd and Mira Sorvino. In a new interview, filmmaker Peter Jackson sheds some additional light on one of the industry’s darkest corners.

Speaking with New Zealand’s Stuff magazine, Jackson revealed that sometime around 1998 while he was working on The Lord of the Rings, he was warned not to cast Ashley Judd and Mira Sorvino — just two of the growing number of women who have come forward with allegations of Harvey Weinstein’s sexual harassment and assault. Jackson says, “I recall Miramax telling us they were a nightmare to work with and we should avoid them at all costs.”

“At the time, we had no reason to question what these guys were telling us,” Jackson said. “But in hindsight, I realize that this was very likely the Miramax smear campaign in full swing.” That “smear campaign” has been mentioned in various reports on the allegations against Weinstein, who continues to deny the accusations against him, which include the sexual harassment, assault, and / or  rape of dozens of women.

Looking back, Jackson now believes he was “fed false information” that led to removing Ashley Judd and Mira Sorvino’s names from their casting list. In a recent interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Sorvino said that although she couldn’t say “for certain,” she suspected that rejecting Weinstein’s aggressive advances damaged her career. “I was not offered any movie roles past 1996,” said Sorvino, who won an Oscar that very year for Best Actress in Mighty Aphrodite. Despite earning the prestigious award, Sorvino found her career stalled.

Both Judd and Sorvino have responded to Jackson’s comments. Last night, Judd confirmed the story:

Sorvino posted an emotional response this morning, in which she also thanked Jackson for his honesty:

A representative for Weinstein denied Jackson’s allegations in an official statement, which said that the former film exec had “no input” on casting The Lord of the Rings. The statement adds that Judd “was cast in two other films by Mr. Weinstein — Frida and Crossing Over — and Mira Sorvino was always considered for other films as well.”

It’s interesting that the statement should mention Frida. Just yesterday, in a heartbreaking essay that revealed her own history of abuse at the hands of Weinstein, Salma Hayek revealed that Judd was one of many actors (and friends) who came to her rescue and agreed to appear in Frida when Weinstein threatened to pull the plug on her passion project unless she met an absurdly aggressive list of demands.

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