Salma Hayek reveals Weinstein abuse

Amy Stevenson

There seems to be no end to the list of actresses who were subjected to harassment from Harvey Weinstein and now Salma Hayek has revealed the extend of the abuse she suffered.

Sharing her story in a piece for The New York Times, the 51-year-old actress reveals the now-disgraced movie produced bullied her, forced her to do a lesbian sex scene, and even threatened to kill her when he didn't get his own way.

"For years, he was my monster," she starts in her account for the publication.

Salma Hayek has revealed the extent of the abuse she suffered from Harvey Weinstein. Source: Getty
The actress writes that Weinstein bullied and threatened to kill her. Source: Getty

Hayek writes that after Weinstein "took a chance on me - a nobody" and agreed that his film studio Miramax would work alongside the actress to help make her movie about Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, she repeatedly turned down his constant advances for years.

"Little did I know it would become my turn to say no," Hayek writes. "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..."

She continues saying in hindsight she believes it may have been her friendships with director Robert Rodriguez and producer Elizabeth Avellan, as well as Quentin Tarantino and George Clooney "that saved me from being raped."

Salma says for years she rejected the disgraced movie producers advances. Source: Getty
After saying 'no' to him multiple times, Weinstein made her suffer in another way while shooting the movie Frida. Source: Getty

After years of rejecting Weinstein's advances, the Desperado actress says he soon became aggressive, making absurd demands and bullying and threatening her.

"The absurdity of his demands went from getting a furious call in the middle of the night... to physically dragging me out of the opening gala of the Venice Film Festival, which was in honor of Frida so I could hang out at his private party with him and some women I thought were models but I was told later were high-priced prostitutes," she adds.

"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.'"

However the 65-year-old soon found another way to make the actress suffer, threatening to give the lead role of Frida to another actress.

While Frida earned six Oscar nominations, life for hell for Salma while filming. Source: Miramax

"When he was finally convinced that I was not going to earn the movie the way he had expected, he told me he had offered my role and my script with my years of research to another actress," she says.

"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 reveals she soon filed a bad faith lawsuit against Weinstein, recruiting close Hollywood friends including Antonio Banderas, Edward Norton and Ashley Judd, as well as Geoffrey Rush, to get the project back off the ground.

And despite her win, Hayek says Weinstein's notorious rage continued while they filmed, with the producer turning up on set complaining about Frida's "unibrow" and threatening to shut down the movie because there wasn't enough sex appeal.

"He insisted that I eliminate the limp and berated my performance," she adds. "Then he asked everyone in the room to step out except for me. 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. So he told me he was going to shut down the film because no one would want to see me in that role."

Weinstein did, however, offer Hayek "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.

Weinstein made a series of demands over the film, including insisting on a lesbian sex scene. Source: Miramax

"He had been constantly asking for more skin, for more sex. Once before, Julie Taymor got him to settle for a tango ending in a kiss instead of the lovemaking scene he wanted us to shoot between the character Tina Modotti, played by Ashley Judd, and Frida.

"But this time, 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.I had to say yes. By now so many years of my life had gone into this film. We were about five weeks into shooting, and I had convinced so many talented people to participate. How could I let their magnificent work go to waste?" She continues.

"I had asked for so many favors, I felt an immense pressure to deliver and a deep sense of gratitude for all those who did believe in me and followed me into this madness. So I agreed to do the senseless scene."

The stress of agreeing to the scene became too much for the mother-of-one, with Hayek revealing she suffered a nervous breakdown the day the scene was due to be shot and she could only get through it with the help of tranquilizer prescription drugs.

"I arrived on the set the day we were to shoot the scene that I believed would save the movie. And for the first and last time in my career, I had a nervous breakdown: My body began to shake uncontrollably, my breath was short and I began to cry and cry, unable to stop, as if I were throwing up tears," she recalls.

Salma revealed she suffered a nervous breakdown while filming. Source: Getty
Many years later Weinstein finally praised Salma for her work. Source: Getty

"Since those around me had no knowledge of my history of Harvey, they were very surprised by my struggle that morning. It was not because I would be naked with another woman. It was because I would be naked with her for Harvey Weinstein. But I could not tell them then.

"My mind understood that I had to do it, but my body wouldn’t stop crying and convulsing. At that point, I started throwing up while a set frozen still waited to shoot. 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."

Despite the movie earning six Oscar nominations, including a Best Actress nod for the star, and ultimately winning Weinstein two, Hayek says she got "no joy" from the acclaimed movie, and it wasn't until many years later that he finally acknowledged her work in Frida.

The star shared her account on social media. Source: Instagram

"Years later, when I ran into him at an event, he pulled me aside and told me he had stopped smoking and he had had a heart attack. He said he’d fallen in love and married Georgina Chapman, and that he was a changed man. Finally, he said to me: 'You did well with Frida; we did a beautiful movie.'"

Hayek concludes, saying while she is grateful she is able to empower others to share their story, until the industry changes Hollywood will still be a community that's a "fertile ground for predators".

"Until there is equality in our industry, with men and women having the same value in every aspect of it, our community will continue to be a fertile ground for predators.

"I am grateful for everyone who is listening to our experiences. 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."

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