Until recently, Hollywood’s loud silence surrounding the sexual abuse allegations against mega-producer Harvey Weinstein was troubling. But in the days following the New York Times’ bombshell report detailing his alleged sexual misconduct and settlements with at least eight women over three decades, celebrities including Meryl Streep, Lena Dunham, Seth Rogen, and most recently, Judi Dench have begun to speak out against his behavior.
On Monday, Dench released a statement on the allegations to Newsweek: “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.”
Dench and Weinstein became close in 1997 when the producer maneuvered Mrs. Brown, a teleplay he convinced Dench to star in, into American theaters. The teleplay was originally only supposed to be streamed on BBC One but catapulted to critical success after Weinstein brought it to Miramax, his entertainment conglomerate. (He no longer owns Miramax, and as of Sunday, he’s been fired from the Weinstein Company.)
Dench went on to earn a Best Actress Oscar nomination for her role of Queen Victoria in Mrs. Brown. Dench attributes much of her mainstream success to his assistance and encouragement, and she’s been vocal about her genuine fondness for him over the years. She’s even gone as far as inscribing an temporary tattoo in his honor, smack in the middle of her derrière.
In a 2013 appearance on The Graham Norton Show, Weinstein detailed how she initially revealed the fleeting ink to him. "She took me to the Four Seasons restaurant. She said: 'I've got a surprise. You're a guy who has everything. I don't know what to get you.” He continues: "She unbuckles her pants, and on her bum was 'JD loves HW'...a tattoo. 'I put your name on my ass,’ she said.”