- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Actor Bryan Cranston says it may be possible for Hollywood to give disgraced celebrities such as Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey a “second chance” for their role in the industry’s ongoing sex scandal.

The former star of “Breaking Bad” told BBC on Monday that a slew of sexual assault accusations leveled against stars should not exclude them from a shot at professional redemption.

He said it may take years for Mr. Weinstein and Mr. Spacey to distance themselves from their respective scandals, but both men should not receive a “to hell with him” reaction.

“It would take time. It would take a society to forgive them, and it would take tremendous contrition on their part — and a knowingness that they have a deeply rooted psychological, emotional problem, and it takes years to mend that,” the actor said, BBC reported. “If they were to show us that they put the work in, and are truly sorry, and making amends — and not defending their actions, but asking for forgiveness — then maybe down the road there is room for that. Maybe so.”

“It would be up to us to determine, case by case, whether or not this person deserves a second chance,” he continued. “I think in the face of that we should let that open. We shouldn’t close it off and say, ‘To hell with him, rot and go away from us for the rest of your life.’ Let’s not do that. Let’s be bigger than that.”

Mr. Weinstein was ousted as co-chairman of Weinstein Co. after a New York Times exposé detailed decades of sexual misconduct accusations against him. He apologized for his behavior, but has not admitted to any criminal acts.

Netflix cut all ties with Mr. Spacey and halted production of the hit series “House of Cards” after the actor responded to allegations that he tried to seduce actor then 14-year-old Anthony Rapp in 1986. Mr. Spacey’s scenes in the upcoming “All the Money in the World” will be reshot, at considerable expense, with Christopher Plummer playing the role Mr. Spacey had.

“I’m beyond horrified to hear his story. I honestly do not recall the encounter, it would have been over 30 years ago,” Mr. Spacey wrote Oct. 29, after the Rapp accusations became public but before the number of men publicly making sexual-misconduct accusations against him had grown to more than a dozen.

“But if I did behave then as he describes I owe him the sincerest apology for what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior, and I am sorry for the feelings he describes having carried with him all these years.”

Both Mr. Weinstein and Mr. Spacey also made the backlashes against them worse by their initial responses to the first accusations, which were widely accused of tone-deafness and/or efforts at deflection.

Mr. Weinstein’s statement reacting to the New York Times report tried to rally ideological sympathy by vowing to make films taking down the National Rifle Association and President Trump. And one of Mr. Spacey’s two paragraphs about the Rapp charges was entirely a coming-out statement, the actor’s first public acknowledgement of his already widely-rumored homosexuality.

• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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