NEW YORK – Two months after the first accusations surfaced against Harvey Weinstein, Hollywood star Salma Hayek accused the disgraced former producer of sexually harassing her on multiple occasions and even threatening to kill her when she did not succumb to his sexual demands.
In an article published Tuesday in The New York Times, the Mexican actress wrote that she was forced to repeatedly say “no” when Weinstein proposed that she have a shower with him, let him give her a massage or allow him to perform oral sex on her.
Hayek said she initially did not think her story was necessary since many of her colleagues had already come forward with accusations against the producer. But she said she decided to tell it as a way to bring some closure to a painful chapter in her life.
The harassment Hayek experienced at the hands of Weinstein, whom she describes in her opening sentence as a “passionate cinephile, a risk taker, a patron of talent in film, a loving father” but also a rage-filled “monster,” occurred after she had reached a deal with the producer’s Miramax company for the making of the film “Frida,” a biopic about surrealist Mexican painter Frida Kahlo that was released in 2002.
Hayek, who played the starring role in that film, says looking back on her ordeal that her friendship with major Hollywood figures such as Quentin Tarantino, George Clooney, film director Robert Rodriguez and Rodriguez’s then-wife, producer Elizabeth Avellan, may have saved her from being raped.
The actress said her refusal to succumb to his advances enraged Weinstein, who on one occasion told her “I will kill you, don’t think I can’t.”
She said that after the producer finally realized that he would not be able to coerce Hayek into sex he told her he had offered her role and her script to another actress.
Hayek had to resort to lawyers to prevent that from happening and also meet a series of Weinstein’s near-impossible demands: getting a rewrite of the script, raising an additional $10 million, signing on an A-list director and bringing in four prominent actors to play supporting roles in the film.
After fulfilling all of those requirements on a tight deadline, Hayek said the harassment stopped but that Weinstein, angered at making a movie he did not want to make, still sexually humiliated her.
On one occasion he complained about the “unibrow” Hayek had grown for her part, saying there was no sex appeal in the movie and that was all the Mexican actress had to offer.
Weinstein threatened to shut down the movie, although he said he would allow it to continue if Hayek did a sex scene – with full frontal nudity – with another woman.
On the day that scene was to be filmed, Hayek said her “body wouldn’t stop crying and convulsing” and she needed to take a tranquilizer to get through it.
After more fights with Weinstein to secure a limited release for the film, “Frida” went on to be an unexpected box-office success and garnered six Academy Award nominations and two Oscar awards.
Years later, Hayek said Weinstein congratulated her for her work on the movie, although she said he “would never know how much he hurt me.”
The Mexican star is one of many actresses to speak out against the Hollywood mogul in recent months.
American actress Ashley Judd told the Times in an Oct. 5 article that Weinstein had invited her to his hotel room and tried to manipulate her into having sex with him, while Italian actress and producer Asia Argento and others accused Weinstein – in an article published Oct. 10 in The New Yorker – of “forcibly performing or receiving oral sex and forcing vaginal sex.”
The producer, who was fired by The Weinstein Company’s board over the sexual misconduct complaints, has consistently denied any allegations of non-consensual sex.
According to Hayek, the artistic devaluation of women in Hollywood, where a recent study showed that only 4 percent of directors were female between 2007 and 2016, is the reason why women have to “fight tooth and nail” to maintain their dignity.
“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,” she wrote.