When it comes to the matter of sexual assault and abuse within Hollywood, the last couple of years have been marked by a dramatic shift in the cultural landscape. In the past, some of the world’s A-list celebs had gotten away with abusing their status and power, but after the rise of the #MeToo movement, execs, companies, and even fans are taking a stand against that type of behavior.
Not only have some high-profile figures (most notably, Bill Cosby) ended up in jail after being publicly accused of rape, but other Hollywood staples, such as Kevin Spacey and Harvey Weinstein, have effectively been removed from the industry, forced into the shadows – and in some cases, high-profile trials. That being said, while it seems most of society takes no issue with careers coming to an end, there’s been a lot of debate as to whether or not the works of abusers should be held in high regard. Despite their actions, it’s hard to deny that both Spacey and Weinstein have produced some of the best films in the past few decades, including Pulp Fiction, American Beauty, and Shakespeare in Love.
Earlier this week, one actress went on record to defend the pair’s screen and stage work, arguing that their significance should not be reduced or diminished. Dame Judi Dench, of Skyfall and Murder on the Orient Express fame, specifically took issue with Spacey being cut from Ridley Scott’s All the Money In The World.
“I can’t approve, in any way, of the fact that – whatever he has done – that you then start to cut him out of the films…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? Are we going to extrude them from our history? I don’t know….”
She also touched upon Harvey Weinstein, noting that, despite their shared history – the two have worked on many movies together – she was unaware of any allegations laid against him.
“Whilst there is no doubt that Harvey Weinstein has helped and championed my career for the past twenty years, 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.”
“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?”
It’s a tough question for sure, and one that I suspect won’t be agreed upon for some time to come. But tell us, do you side with Dame Judi Dench here? Let us know by dropping a comment below.