Judi Dench defended the work of accused sexual assault perpetrators Kevin Spacey and Harvey Weinstein in a recent interview, saying that you can’t deny talent. According to Page Six, the celebrated actress weighed in on the question of whether you should dismiss the work of people accused of assault, and she believes that you can’t ignore good art.
Dench spoke about Spacey’s removal from the 2017 film by Ridley Scott, All the Money In The World.
“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?” she said.
London theater The Old Vic received testimonies from numerous individuals claiming that Spacey, who was the artistic director there for 11 years, had assaulted them. Not one of the accusations led to a charge against the actor and director.
She went on to say that the result of the artist shouldn’t be dismissed because of the actions of the artist.
“You cannot deny somebody a talent,” she said. “You might as well never look at a Caravaggio painting. You might as well never have gone to see Noël Coward.”
Caravaggio was accused of murdering Ranuccio Tomassoni after a fight about a tennis game. Noël Coward was a playwright accused of predatory behavior against a young man.
The Skyfall actress worked with Weinstein regularly in films like Elizabeth I and Shakespeare in Love before he stepped away from Hollywood after being accused by numerous women of predatory behavior and sexual assault. At the time, she said that she didn’t know anything about the accusations and condemned his behavior, according to The Telegraph.
“I was completely unaware of these offenses which are, of course, horrifying, and I offer my sympathy to those who have suffered, and wholehearted support to those who have spoken out,” she said.
Spacey has been accused of groping a young man in Massachusetts at a bar. He appeared in court earlier this month as part of the proceedings against him in the case.
Dench also said that she thought of Spacey as a good friend and said that you can’t cut him out of the films he appeared in, asking if the next move would be to go back throughout history and remove anyone who has broken the law or committed an offense.
Both Weinstein and Spacey deny all accusations against them.