Salma Hayek told Harvey Weinstein “no” countless times as he badgered her at various hotel rooms – and even once threatened to kill her. Her refusal to give him what he wanted almost destroyed her critically acclaimed 2002 film, Frida, which she starred in and produced.
The Oscar-nominated actress has revealed in an op-ed for the New York Times the harassment she endured for years at the hands of Weinstein while trying to make her ultimately successful and multiple award-nominated film under Miramax.
“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. He had said yes,” Hayek recalled of Weinstein’s deal with her to work on the Frida Kahlo biopic.
“Little did I know it would become my turn to say no,” she wrote.
Hayek, 51, did not detail specific encounters with Weinstein but glazed over the different things she said “no” to when asked by the disgraced film honcho.
“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 wrote.
“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 …,” she continued.
“And with every refusal came Harvey’s Machiavellian rage.”
Hayek said she believes Weinstein hated nothing more than the word “no”. She recalled at a Venice Film Festival opening for Frida, he dragged her out to a party with whom she thought were models, but turned out to be high-priced prostitutes.
His range of fury was shocking to her, she described. He once told her, “I will kill you, don’t think I can’t.”
Hayek’s refusal to submit to Weinstein’s requests led to chaos with her beloved project. Weinstein told her he was offering the main role of surrealist Mexican painter Frida Kahlo to someone else, and Hayek was forced to obtain lawyers to work something out.
Ultimately, she pulled things together and was able to meet some of Weinstein’s demands on specifics for the cast and script – but he didn’t stop there.
“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 recalled. “He offered me one option to continue. He would let me finish the film if I agreed to do a sex scene with another woman. And he demanded full-frontal nudity.”
Hayek did not agree to the nudity. Frida director Julie Taymor assisted her in getting Weinstein to agree to a kiss with co-star Ashley Judd, who played Italian photographer, model, actress and revolutionary political activist Tina Modotti, at the end of a tango scene instead.
Moments before the scene was filmed, Hayek had her first and only nervous breakdown – one that caused her to vomit. “It was not because I would be naked with another woman,” she wrote. “It was because I would be naked with her for Harvey Weinstein. But I could not tell them then.”
Hayek – who was eventually nominated for an Oscar for Best Actress in Frida – penned the piece in The Times after keeping her story under wraps out of what she said was embarrassment.
She explained that she spent years being “cordial” with Weinstein despite feeling bullied like so many others. After being approached by Judd and reporters to share her story, she finally stopped hiding from “the responsibility”.
“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,” Hayek wrote. “Men sexually harassed because they could. Women are talking today because, in this new era, we finally can.”
Hayek joins more than 80 women who have accused Weinstein of harassment or sexual misconduct. Actress Rose McGowan and Italian actress/director Asia Argento both have accused Weinstein of rape. – New York Daily News/Tribune News Service/Nicole Bitette