WASHINGTON: In the wake of disgraced movie star Harvey Weinstein denying Hollywood director Peter Jackson's allegations of pushing actresses Ashley Judd and Mira Sorvino out of the ‘Lord of the Rings’, the latter has released a statement obtained by Deadline, citing aspects of Harvey's denial as 'insincere'.
The statement read, “Aspects of Harvey's denial are insincere. He is basically saying that 'this blacklisting couldn't be true because New Line cast the movie'. That's a deflection from the truth. In the 18 months we developed the 'Lord of the Rings' at Miramax, we had many casting conversations with Harvey Weinstein, Bob Weinstein and their executives.”
The statement further said that whilst Weinstein was not involved in the final casting, his claims that he had ''bad experiences'' working with Ashley and Mira meant that going forward, Peter ruled them out of the running.
“The movies changed hands from Miramax to New Line before casting actually got underway - but because we had been warned off Ashley and Mira by Miramax, and we were naive enough to assume we'd been told the truth, Fran and I did not raise their names in New Line casting conversations,” the statement added.
Peter's statement then went on to state that after the actresses came forward to allege that Weinstein ''blacklisted'' them after they rejected his “sexual advances”, he felt the need to speak out about his own experience when trying to hire the two stars.
The ‘King Kong’ helmer continued, “Nearly 20 years later, we read about the sexual misconduct allegations being made against Harvey Weinstein and we saw comments by both Mira and Ashley, who felt they had been blacklisted by Miramax after rejecting Harvey's sexual advances. Fran and I immediately remembered Miramax's negative reaction when we put their names forward, and we wondered if we had unwittingly been part of the alleged damage to their careers, at the hands of Miramax.”
The Oscar-winning director concluded by saying, “We have no direct evidence linking Ashley and Mira's allegations to our Lord of the Rings casting conversations of 20 years ago - but we stand by what we were told by Miramax when we raised both of their names, and we are recounting it accurately. If we were unwitting accomplices in harming their careers, Fran and I unreservedly apologise to both Ashley and Mira.”
Both Ashley and Mira recently came forward as two of more than 80 women who have accused Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment, and Peter now believes his decision to bar the pair from working on the popular movies was part of a “smear campaign”.
Weinstein's career in Hollywood was destroyed after reports came forward accusing him of intimidating, sexually harassing and abusing women for decades.