Salma Hayek has claimed she was harassed and propositioned by Harvey Weinstein for close to a decade.
In a powerful op-ed published on Wednesday in The New York Times, Hayek reveals that after years of saying no to ‘taking a shower with him,’ ‘letting him watch [her] take a shower,’ ‘letting him give [her] a massage,’ ‘letting a naked friend of his give her a massage,’ ‘letting him give [her] oral sex,’ and ‘getting naked with another woman,’ Weinstein finally found a way to corner the actress.
Weinstein even once appeared at the door of Hayek’s hotel while she was working on a film for a rival studio claims the actress.
After jumping through countless hoops to complete work on her dream project, the Frida Kahlo biopic Frida, Weinstein told her he would not release the picture unless there was a naked lesbian sex scene.
Hayek also details her experiences with Weinstein’s notorious temper, claiming he once told her: ‘I will kill you, don’t think I can’t.’
‘The absurdity of his demands went from getting a furious call in the middle of the night asking me to fire my agent for a fight he was having with him about a different movie with a different client to physically dragging me out of the opening gala of the Venice Film Festival, which was in honor of Frida, so I could hang out at his private party with him and some women I thought were models but I was told later were high-priced prostitutes,’ says Hayek.
That premiere was a major moment for Hayek, one that Weinstein made near-impossible.
Hayek had long spoken about her Frida film being the dream project she yearned to one day make in Hollywood, and did everything in her power to make that become a reality.
She stopped short however of giving into Weinstein’s demands for sex, and for that he retaliated in the harshest way possible, according to Hayek.
‘When he was finally convinced that I was not going to earn the movie the way he had expected, he told me he had offered my role and my script with my years of research to another actress,’ writes Hayek.
‘In his eyes, I was not an artist. I wasn’t even a person. I was a thing: not a nobody, but a body.’
Hayek refused to back down however, and filed a ‘bad faith’ lawsuit against Weinstein, which opened the door for her to get the project back off the ground again.
Weinstein demanded she then raise $10 million, get an A-list director, rewrite the script and find four bankable stars to appear alongside her in supporting roles if she wanted to gain control of the film she had personally ushered through pre-production.
Once filming commenced, he got worse claims Hayek, who said: ‘He told me that the only thing I had going for me was my sex appeal and that there was none of that in this movie. So he told me he was going to shut down the film because no one would want to see me in that role.’
That is when he told her she needed to add the sex scene and she agreed as a way to see her film finally get into theaters.
‘I arrived on the set the day we were to shoot the scene that I believed would save the movie,’ reveals Hayek.
‘And for the first and last time in my career, I had a nervous breakdown: My body began to shake uncontrollably, my breath was short and I began to cry and cry, unable to stop, as if I were throwing up tears.’
Hayek later notes: ‘It was not because I would be naked with another woman. It was because I would be naked with her for Harvey Weinstein. But I could not tell them then.’
She says that she eventually took a tranquilizer and made it through the scene, with filming on the project wrapping up soon after that difficult day.
That is when Weinstein suddenly declared he did not want to release the picture in theaters, according to Hayek.
He agreed if the screening managed to score over an 80 with a test audience.
In the end, Hayek’s hard work paid off for Weinstein despite his best efforts to ruin all she had managed to achieve on the project.
‘Months later, in October 2002, this film, about my hero and inspiration — this Mexican artist who never truly got acknowledged in her time with her limp and her unibrow, this film that Harvey never wanted to do, gave him a box office success that no one could have predicted, and despite his lack of support, added six Academy Award nominations to his collection, including best actress,’ writes Hayek.
It went on to win two Oscars.
Hayek closed her piece by expressing how grateful she is to be able to share her story.
‘I am grateful for everyone who is listening to our experiences. I hope that adding my voice to the chorus of those who are finally speaking out will shed light on why it is so difficult, and why so many of us have waited so long,’ writes the actress.
‘Men sexually harassed because they could. Women are talking today because, in this new era, we finally can.’