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Dear Judi Dench, Just Because Kevin Spacey Is Talented Doesn’t Mean He’s Not A Perpetrator. WTF Even?

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As a writer, it so happens that I wake up to news, trending tweets and Instagram posts, on the daily. It is what I open my eyes to, and while some times it may be just the kind of a sunny positive kick I need in life, other times it as disheartening and gets my blood boiling. Today was a spectacular start, enough to make me want to blow the head off a few people. And this is because I got to read about the annoying, infuriating things Judi Dench had to say about Kevin Spacey and Harvey Weinstein, both of whom were called out in the #MeToo movement.

The movement started with Tarana Burke and American actress Alyssa Milano outing  Harvey Weinstein for sexual assault. But it quickly gained momentum, and heads started to roll. One of the accused was House of Cards actor Kevin Spacey. The whole movement had one motive – to bring to light the names of perpetrators who took advantage of their position and power to intimidate victims into silence. But seems like, that concept still flies past the head of a lot of people, including Judi Dench, who believes that the work of an actor must not be negated based on his actions as a person. Whatever that is supposed to mean.

Judi, who is known to play the iconic character of M in the James Bond movies, is also a close friend to the both accused, and in a recent interview with British weekly magazine, went on to say, “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 Nol Coward (accused of predatory behaviour).” She basically pointed out that the fact that the actor was chucked out of the movie All the Money in the World, set a bad precedent for everyone.

So, if we’re getting this right, denying future roles and sending actors to exile for anything less than a serious crime is setting a ‘bad’ precedent for the industry.

Actor Kevin Spacey, or actually allow us to rephrase, accused Kevin Spacey, had been called out by nearly 80 people for his uncouth and predatory behaviour, including several allegations of him assaulting and raping individuals. If that is not reason enough to condemn him and everything he has ever laid his hands on, we don’t know what is.

In fact, during the time that the allegations made rounds, the actor had the audacity to put out a video addressing the issue at hand. In this video which is an exercise in idiocy and one in which he comes across as an unapologetic prick, he said things like, “We’re not done, no matter what anyone says. And besides, I know what you want. You want me back.”

We’ll tell you what we want, we want you and the likes of you gone. Till the time the film fraternity, be it Hollywood or Bollywood, continues to allow such men get back to what they were doing and in whatever capacity it is that they were doing it, no amount of revolutions or campaigns will foster any real change. Be it giving Alok Nath a role back into the movies, or defending the previous work of actors like Kevin Spacey, as long as they’re remembered for their work and not the vile and heinous crimes they’re accused of, all we’re doing is empowering them with the idea that nothing, even something as significant as the #MeToo movement can touch them. That they will be unscathed.

At a time when every verdict, every action in respect to the #MeToo furore needs to be made an example out of, words like this from a respected actor like Judi Dench end up making a mockery out of it instead. So, excuse us Judi if we don’t see eye to eye with your rubbish ideas. It’s hard to look at anyone who’s violated someone and think ‘oh but how brilliant was he in that season!’ or how many Oscars he won. Especially it is entirely possible to do it within the confines of law and with consent as millions of other men are proof. Be it Harvey coming back from his self-proclaimed exile in Arizona to now publicly shame and contest his accusers, or be it prominent people aiding the actions for these very people, there needs to be a more grave consequence for this movement to actually make any sense or progress.

A public time-out or a social sabbatical is far from enough as a punishment for everyone who was flagged in the movement, and wanting less than a fair and fitting punishment would be the same as saying that all we’re really waiting for is the movement to die so that the men can go back to being assholes with impunity, once again.

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