In a heartbreaking new first-person account over at The New York Times, actress and producer Salma Hayek has opened up about her experiences with disgraced executive Harvey Weinstein, detailing multiple instances in which Hayek alleges that Weinstein attempted to sexually assault her. Hayek also sheds light on why she stayed silent for so long, including an honest assessment of why she worked with Weinstein — and, by her own admission, remained “cordial” with him — even after his attempts to violate her in a multitude of ways.
The essay’s title: “Harvey Weinstein Is My Monster Too.”
Hayek writes, “I had brainwashed myself into thinking that it was over and that I had survived; I hid from the responsibility to speak out with the excuse that enough people were already involved in shining a light on my monster…In reality, I was trying to save myself the challenge of explaining several things to my loved ones: Why, when I had casually mentioned that I had been bullied like many others by Harvey, I had excluded a couple of details. And why, for so many years, we have been cordial to a man who hurt me so deeply.”
She continued, “We are finally becoming conscious of a vice that has been socially accepted and has insulted and humiliated millions of girls like me, for in every woman there is a girl. I am inspired by those who had the courage to speak out, especially in a society that elected a president who has been accused of sexual harassment and assault by more than a dozen women and whom we have all heard make a statement about how a man in power can do anything he wants to women. Well, not anymore.”
Hayek’s story mostly chronicles her experiences working with Weinstein on the 2002 biopic “Frida,” a long-time passion project of Hayek’s about the life of lauded Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. For Hayek, who still considered herself a “nobody” in the business, the hard-charging and artist-friendly environment of Weinstein’s then-company Miramax seemed like the perfect fit. As Hayek alleges, it became a nightmare, one during which she was constantly threatened by Weinstein and what she terms his “Machiavellian rage.” As she adds, “I don’t think he hated anything more than the word ‘no,'” and Hayek said she had to say no a lot.
She writes that those instances involved:
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.
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 …
Weinstein’s dominance and anger seeped into all aspects of Hayek’s life, as she alleges that his demands eventually also included firing her agent, dragging her from a Venice Film Festival party, and even threatening to give her part to another actress.
She writes, “In his eyes, I was not an artist. I wasn’t even a person. I was a thing: not a nobody, but a body.”
Hayek goes on to detail various occurrences during production, many of which hinged on Weinstein’s demand that she be “sexy” in the film, even adding in sex scenes and full-frontal nudity. “It was clear to me he would never let me finish this movie without him having his fantasy one way or another. There was no room for negotiation,” she writes. While Hayek eventually gave into the demands, her essay covers the effects crafting such scenes had on her, deeming it a full “nervous breakdown.”
You can read Hayek’s full piece right here.