Hollywood A-lister Salma Hayek has joined the scores of actresses who have accused Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment by alleging that the disgraced Hollywood mogul subjected her to escalating rage and once even threatened to kill her.
In an essay published in The New York Times, the Mexican-born star wrote, “For years, he was my monster,” detailing the torturous production of the 2002 movie “Frida” that eventually earned Hayek an Oscar nomination for best actress.
She said that she was initially hesitant to come forward with her story. She wrote, “I had brainwashed myself into thinking that it was over and that I had survived; I hid from the responsibility to speak out with the excuse that enough people were already involved in shining a light on my monster. I didn’t consider my voice important, nor did I think it would make a difference.”
However, she wrote, “When so many women came forward to describe what Harvey had done to them, I had to confront my cowardice and humbly accept that my story, as important as it was to me, was nothing but a drop in an ocean of sorrow and confusion. I felt that by now nobody would care about my pain — maybe this was an effect of the many times I was told, especially by Harvey, that I was nobody.”
After reaching a deal for Weinstein to pay for the rights to the movie that would eventually catapult her to household fame, the 51-year-old actress and producer said it became “my turn to say no.”
“No to opening the door to him at all hours of the night, hotel after hotel, location after location,” she wrote.
Weinstein’s “Machiavellian rage” accompanied every refusal and once included “the terrifying words, ‘I will kill you, don’t think I can’t,” she said.
After jumping through impossible demands set by Weinstein to keep the movie on track, Hayek said the sexual harassment stopped once filming began “but the rage escalated.”
When it came to shooting the scene, Hayek said she suffered a nervous breakdown and had to take a tranquillizer. When the movie was finished, Weinstein allegedly said it was not good enough for theatrical release and threatened to send it straight to video.
“Frida,” a critically acclaimed biopic about the life of Mexican painter Frida Kahlo eventually won two Oscars and grossed more than $56 million at the box office.
She detailed that, “Even though “Frida” eventually won him two Oscars, I still didn’t see any joy. He never offered me a starring role in a movie again. The films that I was obliged to do under my original deal with Miramax were all minor supporting roles.”
And “Years later, when I ran into him at an event, he pulled me aside and told me he had stopped smoking and he had had a heart attack. He said he’d fallen in love and married Georgina Chapman, and that he was a changed man. Finally, he said to me: “You did well with ‘Frida’; we did a beautiful movie.”
Hayek questions as to why female artists have to go to war and fight tooth and nail in order to maintain their dignity. She wrote, “Until there is equality in our industry, with men and women having the same value in every aspect of it, our community will continue to be a fertile ground for predators.”
“Men sexually harassed because they could. Women are talking today because, in this new era, we finally can.”
In light of these accusations, a spokesperson on behalf of Harvey Weinstein responded by saying that, “ Mr Weinstein does not recall pressuring Salma to do a gratuitous sex scene with a female costar and he was not there for the filming,” said Weinstein’s spokesperson in a statement obtained by Deadline. “However, that was part of the story, as Frida Kahlo was bisexual and the more significant sex scene in the movie was choreographed by Ms Hayek with Geoffrey Rush.”
More than 100 women have publicly accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct ranging from harassment to rape since exposes published in the Times and The New Yorker in early October. The scandal has finished his career, upended his company and ended his marriage.