People

Salma Hayek knows exactly why Harvey Weinstein targeted her and Lupita Nyong’o

Posted by
Kayleigh Dray
Published
CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 13: Actress Salma Hayek speaks during the 71st annual Cannes Film Festival at Majestic Hotel on May 13, 2018 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Stephane Cardinale - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)

“It is a well-known fact that, if you are a woman of colour, people believe in you less,” explains Salma Hayek.

The list of allegations against Harvey Weinstein continues to grow steadily longer: more than 100 women have accused him of sexual harassment, assault and misconduct – and Salma Hayek is among them. 

Five months ago, the actress came forward with her story of abuse at the hands of Weinstein, recalling how the disgraced producer’s offer to fund her passion project, Frida, came with a number of strings attached.

“No to me taking a shower with him,” she wrote, in a blistering op-ed titled Harvey Weinstein Is My Monster, Too.

“No to letting him watch me take a shower. No to letting him give me a massage. No to letting a naked friend of his give me a massage. No to letting him give me oral sex. No to my getting naked with another woman.”

When Weinstein realised Hayek was not prepared to give him what he felt he deserved, Hayek said he went on to emotionally and psychologically abuse her – and even threatened her life.

“I will kill you,” she says he once told her, after she repeatedly refused his sexual advances.

“Don’t think I can’t.”

Weinstein’s lawyers immediately denied the claims: “All of the sexual allegations as portrayed by Salma are not accurate and others who witnessed the events have a different account of what transpired.”

Of course, this was not the first time that Weinstein had issued such a fervent, and specific, denial. In October 2017, Lupita Nyong’o stated that Weinstein sexually harassed her in 2011 when she was still a student at Yale.

“Before long he said that he wanted to take off his pants,” Nyong’o said.

“I told him not to do that and informed him that it would make me extremely uncomfortable. He got up anyway to do so and I headed for the door, saying that I was not at all comfortable with that.”

Weinstein’s lawyers responded: “Mr. Weinstein has a different recollection of the events, but believes Lupita is a brilliant actress and a major force for the industry.

“Last year, she sent a personal invitation to Mr. Weinstein to see her in her Broadway show Eclipsed.”

Now, speaking at Cannes Film Festival’s Women In Motion event, Hayek has said that she believes Weinstein came after her and Nyong’o because they are both women of colour.

“He only responded to two women, to women of colour,” Hayek told a Variety reporter.

“It was a strategy by the lawyers, because we are the easiest to get discredited.”

She continued: “It is a well-known fact that, if you are a woman of colour, people believe in you less and believe what you say less. So, he went back, attacking the two women of colour.

“If he could discredit us, [it would be] easier for the audience, the readers to not believe us, he could then maybe discredit the rest. He went to the weakest links.”

Hayek was one of 82 women, led by jury president Cate Blanchett, who protested Cannes’ gender imbalance on Saturday night.

“It was very meaningful to me in many ways,” Hayek said of the march. “Personally, as a woman that’s been part of this community and has had to go through the struggles that all women have had to go through. It’s an important step to see this happen.”

However, she stressed that – while the moment was “profound” and “beautiful – we should not get complacent.

Continue with the frustration, you have to be impatient and patient at the same time,” said Hayek.

“You cannot tolerate, but you have to continue the pressure. We should have been angrier sooner. More than angrier, because I think we were already angry. We should have come together, because that’s what’s made the difference, we should have come together sooner.”

For more on the ongoing conversation about sexual harassment in Hollywood and beyond, click here.

Image: Getty

Topics

Share this article

Author

Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is editor of Stylist.co.uk, where she chases after rogue apostrophes and specialises in films, comic books, feminism and television. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends. 

Related Posts