Dame Judi Dench has come under fire for comments she made in the Radio Times, in which she defended the work of Kevin Spacey and Harvey Weinstein.
Though the actress has said that she was 'horrified' by the allegations of sexual abuse facing both men, she questioned whether their work should remain separate from actions in their personal lives.
“Are we going to negate 10 years at the Old Vic, and everything that [Spacey] did — how wonderful he’s been in all those films? Are we just not going to see all those films that Harvey produced?” she said.
Dench has worked on several occasions with both Spacey and Weinstein, and with both together in the 2001 movie The Shipping News.
“What kind of agony is that? You cannot deny somebody a talent,” she added, asking too whether we should now disregard the work of Carravagio, who murdered another man, and Noel Coward, who was accused of predatory behaviour towards young men.
But Dench has been criticised for the comments.
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
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
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
Despite this, however, others have been careful to note that Dench was not condoning their behaviour.
Another reason to love Judi Dench: we shouldn't judge work by the morality of its creators, doing so would lead to boycotts of Caravaggio paintings and Noel Coward musicals. https://t.co/HjAu1w6Wcv— Joanna Williams (@jowilliams293) June 25, 2019
You’d think from this headline @guardian wanted Twitter to pile in on our national treasure! But in the article it says she was one of the first to condemn their actions.... Rather tired of women being held to account for the crimes of men! https://t.co/atqLgITuDK— Heidi Rice (@HeidiRomRice) June 25, 2019
She has previously stood up for Spacey, however, who she said was a great comfort to her following the death of her husband Michael Williams in 2001.
“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 offence, are they always going to be cut out?” she said last year, following news that Spacey was to be edited out of Ridley Scott movie All The Money In The World.
“Are we going to extrude them from our history? 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.”