Salma Hayek has come forward with a story of abuse at the hands of Harvey Weinstein, recalling how he continually attempted to have sexual relations with her, emotionally and psychologically abused her, and even threatened to kill her.
Writing in the New York Times, Salma Hayek decribed working with Weinstein on her “greatest ambition” and passion project: retelling the true story of Frida Kahlo in the 2002 film Frida.
When Weinstein first bought the rights to the film, Hayek believed all of her dreams had come true – but it quickly became apparent that the producer’s offer came with strings attached, and she was forced to repeatedly refuse his sexual advances.
She writes: “No to me taking a shower with him.
“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.”
As soon as Weinstein realised that he wouldn’t get what he believed he “deserved” from her, Hayek says, he became enraged. At one point, he even threatened her life.
“I will kill you,” she says he once told her. “Don’t think I can’t.”
Hayek goes on to accuse Weinstein of threatening to shut the film down completely unless she filmed a nude sex scene with another actress.
“I had to take a tranquiliser, which eventually stopped the crying but made the vomiting worse,” she writes, dubbing the producer a “monster” for forcing her into performing an explicit and (in her eyes) entirely unnecessary scene.
“As you can imagine, this was not sexy, but it was the only way I could get through the scene.”
Anticipating the slew of unhelpful questions (after the #MeToo movement, many victims of sexual abuse were asked why they didn’t come forward sooner), Hayek writes that she “had brainwashed myself into thinking that it was over and that I had survived.” More importantly, though, she feels that women’s voices have not been welcome until now.
“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.”
Hayek’s op-ed has received widespread praise online, with Reese Witherspoon tweeting: “Truer words have never been spoken.
“I am in awe of my dear friend @SalmaHayek’s strength, passion, & composure during her horrific ordeal.”
Weinstein’s spokeswoman, though, has responded to Hayek’s claims in a statement which reads: “Mr Weinstein does not recall pressuring Salma to do a gratuitous sex scene with a female co-star and he was not there for the filming.
“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.”
Hayek, of course, is not the only woman to speak out against Weinstein: more than 100 women have now accused the disgraced producer of sexual abuse, including several instances of rape. He has denied all claims of non-consensual sex. In a recent statement, his lawyers suggested that some of the women accusing Weinstein of assault may have simply regretted their decision to sleep with him after the fact.
“Mr Weinstein has never at any time committed an act of sexual assault, and it is wrong and irresponsible to conflate claims of impolitic behaviour or consensual sexual contact later regretted, with an untrue claim of criminal conduct,” the producer’s attorneys told People.
“There is a wide canyon between mere allegation and truth, and we are confident that any sober calculation of the facts will prove no legal wrongdoing occurred.
“Nonetheless, to those offended by Mr. Weinstein’s behaviour, he remains deeply apologetic.”
For more on the ongoing conversation about sexual harassment in Hollywood and beyond, click here.
Images: Rex Features