Oscar-winning director Peter Jackson claimed Friday that disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein told him to avoid working with actresses Ashley Judd and Mira Sorvino as part of a “Smear campaign” against them.

In an interview with New Zealand website Stuff, Jackson said he was pitching his “Lord of the Rings” films to Miramax in the late-1990s and expressed interest in casting Judd and Sorvino.

Jackson had harsh words for Weinstein and his brother Bob, describing them as “Second-rate Mafia bullies.”

Since October, Harvey Weinstein has been accused of sexual misconduct by more than 60 women – including actresses Judd, Sorvino, Angelina Jolie and Gwenyth Paltrow.

Sorvino wrote on Twitter that Jackson’s story was “Confirmation that Harvey Weinstein derailed my career, something I suspected but was unsure.”

The spokesperson added that “While Bob and Harvey Weinstein were executive producers of the film they had no input into the casting whatsoever.”

“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 apologize to both Ashley and Mira.”.

Mira Sorvino