Dame Judi Dench 'upset' Spacey and Weinstein’s talent erased amid assault claims

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Dame Judi Dench is “upset” by the way close friends Kevin Spacey and ­Harvey Weinstein have been treated after allegations of sexual assault, says journalist Michael Buerk.

The Oscar and Bafta-winning actor, 84, credits Weinstein with her breakthrough in Hollywood and says Spacey was a great support when her husband Michael Williams died in 2001.

Both men have had a string of allegations of sexual assault against them. But in an interview with Mr Buerk, he describes Dame Judi as “upset about the way they’ve been treated” and “airbrushed out of history”, despite being “very clear about condemning their alleged behaviour”.

She says: “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?

Dame Judi with Harvey Weinstein in 2005

The acting stalwart made the comments in this week’s issue of the Radio Times

“Are we just not going to see all those films that Harvey produced? You cannot deny somebody a talent. You might as well never look at a Caravaggio painting [he was a murderer]. You might as well never have gone to see Noel Coward [accused of predatory behaviour].”

Dozens of women have made allegations against film producer Weinstein, 67, from rape to sexual harassment. And more than 30 people have alleged sexual assault, rape or harassment against Spacey, 59, some when they were teenagers. Both men deny the allegations

In the Radio Times piece, Dame Judi also speaks about her failing eyesight and having no desire to give up.

She says: “People say, ‘why don’t you retire?’ all the time. But we don’t even allow that word to be said in our family.

Dame Judi with Kevin spacey at the BAFTAs in 2002

“People retire to paint or walk, do the things they’ve wanted to do all their lives. I’m doing what I’ve wanted to do all my life…”

The actress suffers from macular degeneration in both eyes. She said: “I can’t read the paper, I can’t do the crossword. But, you know, you cope.”

She spoke ahead of a two-part nature documentary, Judi Dench’s Wild Borneo Adventure, on ITV. Dame Judi has adopted three orangutans on the Asian island and said of being in the jungle: “You can’t express how remarkable it is. It is not like anything I have experienced…”

  • Judi Dench’s Wild Borneo Adventure is on ITV, on July 2, at 9pm.

The full interview is in the Radio Times, out now.

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