Judi Dench doesn’t feel society should erase its past culture or specifically “negate” the former artwork of men like Kevin Spacey and Harvey Weinstein because of their misconduct.
Dench didn’t defend either Weinstein or Spacey, nor did she reject or not believe any of the accusations against them, but she was disappointed that the work they’ve done over the years would be forgotten.
“What kind of agony is that? Are we going to negate 10 years at the Old Vic and everything that he [Spacey] did [as artistic director] — how wonderful he’s been in all those films,” Dench told Britain’s Radio Times (via CNN). “Are we just not going to see all those films that Harvey produced? You cannot deny somebody a talent.”
Dench won an Oscar for her work in “Shakespeare in Love,” which Weinstein led to a surprise upset at the 1999 Oscars for Best Picture. The 84-year-old actress continued and compared the erasure of their work to the work of other problematic men.
“You might as well never look at a Caravaggio painting,” Dench said. “You might as well never have gone to see Noel Coward.”
Italian Renaissance painter Caravaggio was a notorious brawler and was convicted of murder, forcing him to flee from Rome to Naples. The playwright Coward has also been accused of predatory behavior.
More than 80 women have accused Weinstein of sexual harassment and assault. In May 2018, he was charged by New York prosecutors for “rape, criminal sex act, sex abuse and sexual misconduct for incidents involving two separate women,” with other investigations opened into claims made in Los Angeles and London. Weinstein has consistently denied all wrongdoing.
Spacey is currently being tried on charges of indecent assault and battery for allegedly groping an 18-year-old boy at a bar in Nantucket in 2016. In January, he entered a plea of not guilty.