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Judi Dench criticized for defending Weinstein, Spacey as artists amid #MeToo claims: 'Classic example of a woman protecting a man's behavior'

·Editor, Yahoo Entertainment
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  • Kevin Spacey
    Kevin Spacey
    American actor
  • Judi Dench
    Judi Dench
    English actress
  • Harvey Weinstein
    Harvey Weinstein
    American film producer

Judi Dench doesn’t want Kevin Spacey’s or Harvey Weinstein’s professional accomplishments to be erased in the wake of their #MeToo scandals — and she’s facing criticism for it.

While Dench, 84, didn’t defend their behavior — there is a long list of sexual misconduct claims against each of them — she expressed her personal “agony” that their careers and legacies are ruined as a result of the scandals in a new interview with the U.K.’s Radio Times.

poses in the winners room at The Olivier Awards at The Royal Opera House on April 12, 2015 in London, England. (Photo: Getty Images)
Judi Dench doesn't want to see her friend Kevin Spacey's work erased in the wake of the sexual misconduct allegations against him. (Photo: Getty Images)

"What kind of agony is that?” she said. “Are we going to negate 10 years at the Old Vic,” the London theater where Spacey served as artistic director, “and everything that he did — how wonderful he’s been in all those films? Are we just not going to see all those films that Harvey produced?"

She compared it to the artwork of Italian painter Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, who committed murder while he was alive in the late 16th and early 17th centuries.

"You cannot deny somebody a talent,” she said. “You might as well never look at a Caravaggio painting.”

She added, “You might as well never have gone to see Noel Coward,” who was also accused of predatory behavior.

Dench’s comments are being criticized on social media today. Some were “disturbed” while there was “disappointment” expressed by others. It was also called a “classic example of a woman protecting a man’s behavior. Misogyny.”

Some of the reactions:

Though some, a much smaller group, agree that people should “separate the art from the artist.”

Though we’re not sure “they are douchebags” but their “film work is solid” is really an endorsement.

While Dench called the allegations against Weinstein “horrifying” in 2017, when he was first accused, she’s defended their work before — especially Spacey’s.

Judi Dench has credited Harvey Weinstein for helping her career.  (Photo: Scott Wintrow/Getty Images)
Judi Dench has credited Harvey Weinstein for helping her career. She won her Oscar for her performance in 1998's "Shakespeare in Love," which was produced by Weinstein. (Photo: Scott Wintrow/Getty Images)

“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?” she said last year after Spacey, her co-star in The Shipping News (which Weinstein produced), was cut out of All the Money in the World.

“Are we going to extrude them from our history?” Dench continued. “I don’t know about the conditions of it, but nevertheless he is, and was, a most wonderful actor. And a good friend. I can’t imagine what he’s doing now.” (Dench has said Spacey supported her after the death of her husband, Michael Williams, in 2001.)

Dench appeared in a number of films produced or distributed by Weinstein, including 1998’s Shakespeare in Love, for which she won her Oscar.

Both Spacey and Weinstein currently face criminal charges related to sexual misconduct allegations against them.

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