Actress Salma Hayek is the latest woman to come forward to accuse disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment. Writing a powerful essay for the New York Times, she details how Weinstein’s years of abuse began after he acquired the rights to her 2002 film Frida, the Frida Kahlo biopic that earned her a Best Actress Oscar nod.
She describes how she was initially excited to work with Weinstein, who she believed was a passionate ‘cinephile’, who would help her bring her passion project to life and cement her status as a leading lady.
She quickly realised her mistake however, when Weinstein begun a campaign of harassment, asking her to have sex with him, watch him shower, let him watch her shower, and a whole list of abuses that are all too well-known as his signatures now.
She even alleges that he threatened to kill her when he grew angry at her continuous rebuffs, writing: ‘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.”’
Once Weinstein became convinced of Hayek’s rejection of his advances, he decided to make life even harder for her, threatening to cast another actress in the lead role unless she could meet his demands: namely recruiting four big name actors, getting the script re-written for no extra cost, raise $10 million to finance the film and secure an A-list director.
When Hayek delivered, thanks in large part to her friends Edward Norton and Antonio Banderas, his next move was to demand that Hayek did a full front nude same-sex love scene with Ashley Judd, something she only made it through thanks to the use of tranquilisers. After this, he threatened to send the film straight to video – his tyranny truly knew no bounds. Eventually, Hayek was able to persuade him to release the film, which became a critical success and won two Oscars.
Years later, Hayek recalls how she ran into Weinstein again, who claimed he was a changed man. But it was his words of praise that meant the most to her, as she identifies herself as a sufferer of Stockholm syndrome: ‘Finally, he said to me: “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. 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.’
Weinstein has denied all of Hayek's claims.