Dame Judi Dench has responded to the string of sexual harassment allegations against Hollywood producer and Democratic Party donor Harvey Weinstein, claiming she was “completely unaware” of the claims, which she called “horrifying.”
In a statement, the 82-year-old actress declared, “Whilst there is no doubt that Harvey Weinstein has helped and championed my film career for the past 20 years, I was completely unaware of these offences which are, of course, horrifying and I offer my sympathy to those who have suffered, and wholehearted support to those who have spoken out.”
According to People, Dench appeared to be good friends with Weinstein, and credited him “for her start in Hollywood.”
The actress worked with the movie mogul on several films, including an Oscar-winning role in the Weinstein-produced Philomena in 2011.
After the allegations were made public, Democratic Party politicians, as well as the Democratic National Committee (DNC), pledged to give away Weinstein’s donations to charity.
In a statement, the DNC claimed they would give away just $30,000 to left-wing organizations, despite the fact that Weinstein donated nearly $250,000.
Though most celebrities originally refused to discuss the allegations, some have since spoken out and condemned the producer, including Mark Ruffalo, Susan Sarandon, Jessica Chastain, Paul Feig, Meryl Streep, and Judd Apatow.
In a statement, Streep claimed “not everybody knew” about Weinstein’s alleged sexual misconduct, which included claims the producer masturbated in front of women, invited them to watch him shower, and asked them to “soap him” up in the bath.
Meanwhile, John Oliver remains the only late-night host to have discussed Weinstein, with Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyers, James Corden, and Saturday Night Live all ignoring the news.
In a post on Twitter, Hollywood actress Rose McGowan claimed anyone who does business with Harvey Weinstein “is complicit” in the allegations, and blasted associates and friends of Weinstein who had been silent.
CEO and Editor-In-Chief of TheWrap, Sharon Waxman, claimed in an article that she knew of Weinstein’s behavior in 2004, however the New York Times stopped a story on the allegations from being published.
It is also reported that Hollywood stars Matt Damon and Russell Crowe helped “kill” the story Waxman was preparing.
After the New York Times broke the story, Weinstein quickly fired back at the newspaper, threatening a $50 million lawsuit, however the producer has since been ousted from the Weinstein Company, which is in talks to change its name.