The allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct against Harvey Weinstein are seriously stomach-churning. In a bombshell investigative piece, the New York Times reports stories of abuse that go back 30 years.
Dame Judi Dench has responded to the allegations. She tells Newsweek in a statement that "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 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," and offers her sympathy to the victims.
As she notes in her response, Dench and Weinstein have a long history together. Her first big role was in 1997's Mrs. Brown; she'd mainly worked in TV and theater before that breakout role. Harvey Weinstein's company Miramax distributed Mrs. Brown. She also credits him with helping her earn the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for 1999's Shakespeare in Love.
Dench was also so close to the disgraced producer that she joked about having a tattoo on her butt that reads "JD loves HW." The tattoo isn't real: she set up the prank as a sort of inside joke. She told the Hollywood Reporter, "I once said to [Weinstein], “I have your named tattooed on my bum.” He laughed and was well, quite embarrassed, actually. It’s quite difficult to embarrass Harvey, but I did! And then, we went out to lunch, to the Four Seasons. Charlie Rose was there and I think my agent was there. Beforehand, I got my makeup lady to actually write Harvey’s name. [laughs] Then I brought it up at lunch and said, ”You know, I do have it on my bum” -- and then I actually got up and showed him! I’ve never seen a man more embarrassed and I’ve never let him forget it. "