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.
"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:
In what world would M ever say oh give them a free pass. Judi Dench, I am disturbed by this https://t.co/umMTC9u2bi— Aly (@DollRevolution) June 25, 2019
Judi, you are a MAJOR disappointment— Angie (@overthrow_trump) June 25, 2019
Classic example of a woman protecting a man’s behavior. Misogyny— Lisa Bromley 🌊🌊🌊 🇺🇸 (@LisaKBromley) June 25, 2019
Pleeze girl. No— Melissa Silverstein (@melsil) June 25, 2019
Judi Dench defends work of Kevin Spacey and Harvey Weinsteinhttps://t.co/9OLuErw9DV
“She worries their work may be forgotten”— Vanessa Giselle ☾ (@vanessa_giselle) June 25, 2019
Wow. With all of the madness happening in the world right now, this is what she is worried about? Protecting the work of sexual predators? Seriously? Come on.
This is the voice of an extremely privileged & pretentious individual. She is so “above it all” that she is completely detached. Not having empathy or respect for victims of sexual abuse? So much so that she stands up for the sexual predators who abused them? GET REAL, woman.— Vanessa Giselle ☾ (@vanessa_giselle) June 25, 2019
I got to say, yes. As good as Spacey’s work was, I cringe watching him now in his scenes. So then it takes me out of the story/fantasy of that movie and ruins the experience. Their presence now takes away from the story.— C.H.I (@THEChipsOToole) June 25, 2019
as she sips wine watching cosby reruns.— Brads Towing Rockford (@brads_towing) June 25, 2019
Oh Judi. I love you but this is so wrong.— Todd (@toddcrunched) June 25, 2019
That’s right Judi. We are just not going to see those films. Of all the beautiful films in the world, why choose one assoc with a rapist?— Tess (@SalishTess) June 25, 2019
Though some, a much smaller group, agree that people should “separate the art from the artist.”
I don't think she is defending them as much as she is acknowledging reality. One can be awful but still do good things. She is acknowleging they did good work and were good to her. Not defending their horrible actions.— Jesus H Kitty (@CatHark2) June 25, 2019
Though we’re not sure “they are douchebags” but their “film work is solid” is really an endorsement.
They are douche bags but TBH the film work is solid.— BillytheSquig (@axnbill13) June 25, 2019
While Dench called the allegations against Weinstein “horrifying” in 2017, when he was first accused, she’s defended their work before — especially Spacey’s.
“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.
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