New Zealand director Sir Peter Jackson has gone to war with disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein over blacklisting of actresses.
The two movie moguls have become embroiled in a war of words over allegations Weinstein advised the Kiwi movie legend to avoid working with Mira Sorvino and Ashley Judd.
Jackson has claimed the advice was given in the late 1990s while working on The Lord of The Rings.
Judd and Sorvino have thanked Jackson for going public, while a spokesperson for Weinstein has denied the claims.
Jackson and his partner and co-producer Fran Walsh have since released another statement saying that Weinstein's company Miramax had told them to avoid working with the star actresses.
"We were immediately told by Miramax to steer clear of them, because they claimed to have had "bad experiences" with these particular actresses in the past," Jackson wrote.
"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."
Judd tweeted this morning: "Peter & Fran had me in - showed me all the creative, the boards, costumes, everything. They asked which if the two roles I preferred, and then I abruptly never heard from them again. I appreciate the truth coming out. Thank you, Peter."
Sorvino has also tweeted of the earlier comments from Jackson: "Just seeing this after I awoke, I burst out crying. There it is, confirmation that Harvey Weinstein derailed my career, something I suspected but was unsure. Thank you Peter Jackson for being honest. I'm just heartsick."
On Thursday, Jackson told how Weinstein vetoed Judd and Sorvino from his Lord of the Rings Trilogy in the late 1990s.
Jackson was eager for them to be involved in the Miramax production but said that Weinstein put a stop to it.
"I recall Miramax telling us they were a nightmare to work with and we should avoid them at all costs. This was probably in 1998.
"I now suspect we were fed false information about both of these talented women - and as a direct result their names were removed from our casting list."
A statement released by Weinstein's spokesperson hit back at Jackson, saying: "While Bob and Harvey Weinstein were executive producers of the film, they had no input into the casting whatsover".
The release from the spokesperson aded that Weinstein had "the utmost respect" for the Kiwi movie mogul.
Judd was among the first women to speak out against the 65-year-old in an explosive New York Times article in October.
She told how Weinstein confronted her in a hotel room in 1997 wearing just a bathrobe and asking her for a massage.
She refused but the pair went on to work together in several films to come. The bathrobe incident took place a year before Lord of the Rings went into production.
Sorvino's accusations against Weinstein take a similar shape.
Sorvino said Weinstein had confronted her in 1995 in a hotel room and that he 'chased' her 'around' while trying to get her to have sex with him.
Her claims were published for the first time in a New Yorker article which mirrored the Times piece.
In it, author Ronan Farrow said: "Four actresses, including Mira Sorvino and Rosanna Arquette, told me they suspected that, after they rejected Weinstein's advances or complained about them to company representatives, Weinstein had them removed from projects or dissuaded people from hiring them."
During his own interview, Jackson told not just of Weinstein's treatment of the actresses but said he behaved shamefully with everyone else involved in the film.
He added that Weinstein and his studio "controlled" the film's production and that the mogul and his brother Bob "behaved like second-rate Mafia bosses".