Salma Hayek Alleges She Was Sexually Harassed by Harvey Weinstein on Multiple Occasions
By Jackie Willis
Salma Hayek is the latest celebrity to declare "Me Too."
In an op-ed for The New York Times, the 51-year-old actress alleges that on numerous occasions she was sexually harassed and berated by Harvey Weinstein.
Hayek says she fought to work with Weinstein's then-production company, Miramax, but after he said "yes" to working with her, it was her turn to "say no."
"No to opening the door to him at all hours of the night, hotel after hotel, location after location, where he would show up unexpectedly, including one location where I was doing a movie he wasn’t even involved with," 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. No, no, no, no, no …"
Hayek claims Weinstein's advances could quickly turn to rage. "I don’t think he hated anything more than the word 'no,'" she continues. "The range of his persuasion tactics went from sweet-talking me to that one time when, in an attack of fury, he said the terrifying words, 'I will kill you, don’t think I can’t.'"
The actress also alleges that Weinstein went out of his way to shut down her 2002 film, Frida, a biopic about the life of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, which was later nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Actress for Hayek's leading role.
Hayek says in order for her to get Weinstein to agree to make the movie, he gave her a list of "impossible tasks with a tight deadline," which included rewriting the script at no additional cost, raising $10 million, finding an "A-list director" to head up the movie and getting four "prominent actors" to fill the other supporting roles.
Much to "everyone's amazement," Hayek did deliver and reveals that she had Edward Norton -- whom she dated from 1999 to 2004 -- rewrite the script "several times and appallingly never got credit." Julie Taymor ended up directing the movie, and Hayek recruited Norton, Geoffrey Rush, Antonio Banderas and Ashley Judd to star in the film alongside her.
Once filming was underway, Hayek claims Weinstein had another set of demands, including that she get rid of the unibrow, a distinguishing attribute of the real-life Kahlo. "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," she writes. "So he told me he was going to shut down the film because no one would want to see me in that role."
While she kept the unibrow, Hayek says she agreed to do a sex scene with another woman that she claims Weinstein demanded be "full-frontal nudity."
On the day that she was to shoot the sex scene, Hayek says she became physically ill. "It was not because I would be naked with another woman. It was because I would be naked with her for Harvey Weinstein," she laments. "I had to take a tranquilizer, which eventually stopped the crying but made the vomiting worse. As you can imagine, this was not sexy, but it was the only way I could get through the scene."
After having to ask that the film be distributed in theaters, Hayek says that Frida gave Weinstein a "box office success that no one could have predicted."
Hayek says it wasn't until years later that the 65-year-old filmmaker told her, "'You did well with Frida; we did a beautiful movie.'"
"I believed him. Harvey would never know how much those words meant to me. He also would never know how much he hurt me. I never showed Harvey how terrified I was of him.," she concludes. "When I saw him socially, I’d smile and try to remember the good things about him, telling myself that I went to war and I won."
Following Hayek's op-ed a spokesperson for Weinstein released a statement to ET on his behalf:
Mr. Weinstein regards Salma Hayek as a first-class actress and cast her in several of his movies, among them Once Upon a Time in Mexico, Dogma, and Studio 54. He was very proud of her Best Actress Academy Award nomination for Frida and continues to support her work.
While Jennifer Lopez was interested in playing Frida and at the time was a bigger star, Mr. Weinstein overruled other investors to back Salma as the lead. Miramax put up half of the money and all of the P&A; the budget was over 12 million. As in most collaborative projects, there was creative friction on Frida, but it served to drive the project to perfection. The movie opened in multiple theaters and was supported by a huge advertising campaign and an enormous Academy Awards budget.
Mr. Weinstein does not recall pressuring Salma to do a gratuitous sex scene with a female costar and he was not there for the filming. However, that was part of the story, as Frida Kahlo was bisexual and the more significant sex scene in the movie was choreographed by Ms. Hayek with Geoffrey Rush. The original uni-brow used was an issue because it diverted attention from the performances. 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.
Ed Norton, who was Ms. Hayek’s boyfriend at the time, [worked with Mr. Weinstein on the rewrite of the script in Mexico] did a brilliant job of rewriting the script and Mr. Weinstein battled the WGA to get him a credit on the film. His effort was unsuccessful to everyone’s disappointment.
By Mr. Weinstein’s own admission, his boorish behavior following a screening of Frida was prompted by his disappointment in the cut of the movie—and a reason he took a firm hand in the final edit, alongside the very skilled director Julie Taymor.
The actress' op-ed comes just months after Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie claimed they too were sexually harassed by Weinstein, who has not admitted to any wrongdoing.