Judi Dench has defended the work of Kevin Spacey and Harvey Weinstein. The veteran British actress has previously condemned the behavior of Spacey and Weinstein, who have both been accused of sexual harassment, but she told UK publication The Radio Times that the men’s screen and stage work should not be diminished.
In reference to Spacey being removed from Ridley Scott’s 2017 film All the Money In The World, the Oscar-winning actress said, “What kind of agony is that? Are we going to negate 10 years at the Old Vic and everything that he did [as artistic director] – how wonderful he’s been in all those films? Are we just not going to see all those films that Harvey produced?”
“You cannot deny somebody a talent,” continued the Skyfall actress. “You might as well never look at a Caravaggio painting [the Renaissance painter was also a murderer]. You might as well never have gone to see Noël Coward [the Brit playwright was accused of predatory behavior].”
The Shakespeare In Love actress was a regular collaborator with Weinstein but was quick to condemn his behavior following the many allegations of misconduct and assault against him, which she said she knew nothing about. Weinstein has denied all charges of non-consensual sex.
London theater The Old Vic received at least 20 personal testimonies of alleged inappropriate behavior by Spacey, who was its artistic director between 2004 and 2015. None led to criminal prosecution. The former House Of Cards actor appeared earlier this month in a Massachusetts courthouse as part of a case in which he is accused of groping a young man in 2016, an allegation he denies.
Dench also defended Spacey, whom she describes as a “good friend”, at last year’s San Sebastian Film Festival. At a press conference the actress said, “I can’t approve, in any way, of the fact that — whatever he has done — that you then start to cut him out of the films…Are we to go back throughout history and anyone who has misbehaved in any way, or who has broken the law, or who has committed some kind of offense, are they always going to be cut out? Are we going to extrude them from our history? I don’t know….”