In an essay for the New York Times, Hayek alleges the producer threatened to kill her and pressured her into sex scenes
In the latest of a stream of allegations against film mogul and monster Harvey Weinstein, Salma Hayek has written a searing essay for the New York Times, the home of the original Weinstein exposé. In the essay, entitled “Harvey Weinstein is My Monster Too”, Hayek details a sustained campaign of abuse and harassment against her by Weinstein during their collaboration on Frida.
For Hayek, Frida, a biopic about artist Frida Kahlo was a passion project Hayek desperately pursued. “My greatest ambition was to tell her story”, Hayek wrote, and in an effort to bring the film to life she took Weinstein on board. While she wasn’t set to make much money from their unfair deal, she said that she did not care. This was pre-Hayek’s fame, and she wrote that, “I was so excited to work with him and that company. In my naïveté, I thought my dream had come true. He had validated the last 14 years of my life. He had taken a chance on me – a nobody”.
But Weinstein took advantage of that desperation and passion. Hayek wrote that over time she had to deny him entry to her hotel rooms, deny requests to shower with him, deny massages, deny sex. She told him no, over and over again, but “with every refusal came Harvey’s Machiavellian rage”, she wrote, “I don’t think he hated anything more than the word 'no.'” After she finally convinced Weinstein that she would not submit to him, he became more difficult, giving her a list of impossible demands that she had to achieve in order to let Frida go ahead.
Somehow she managed to achieve everything he wanted, but his rage and demands continued, although he did stop sexually harassing her. After attempting to remove Frida’s limp and iconic monobrow because they weren’t “sexy enough”, he offered her a deal: the film would continue if she agreed to do full-frontal nudity and a sex scene with another woman. She did as Weinstein wished but had a nervous breakdown. Hayek also cites the “Stockholm syndrome” that she felt, a common occurrence with abuse victims; she wanted to be free, but she also wanted to please him and to have him see her as an artist.
Hayek was reticent to speak out, believing that her voice would not matter, but said that she is glad that she could. “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. Men sexually harassed because they could. Women are talking today because, in this new era, we finally can.”
Weinstein’s team has now responded to Hayek’s piece, saying that “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”.