Salma Hayek has opened up about the alleged sexual harassment she suffered at the hands of shamed Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, revealing that at one point he threatened to kill her.
Weinstein has been at the centre of a criminal investigation since late October, after an extensive outpouring of allegations including rape and sexual assault from scores of women in both America and the UK. He “unequivocally denies” any allegations of non-consensual sex.
Mexican-born star Hayek worked with Weinstein on 2002 Frida Kahlo biopic Frida and details the harrowing experience in an op-ed for The New York Times.
Hayek explains that she was first introduced to Weinstein by director Robert Rodriguez and producer Elizabeth Avellan and says that “knowing what I know now, I wonder if it wasn’t my friendship with them — and Quentin Tarantino and George Clooney — that saved me from being raped”.
She says she approached Weinstein about working on Frida for Miramax and “he had said yes.” Hayek then adds: “Little did I know it would become my turn to say no.”
Weinstein’s harassment, Hayek says, ranged from him asking to her to take a shower to him to offers of massages and oral sex.
Hayek says she had to say “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 accuses Weinstein of “physically dragging me out of the opening gala of the Venice Film Festival… 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”.
Hayek also claims that Weinstein once told her: “I will kill you, don’t think I can’t.”
While working on Frida, Hayek says that Weinstein demanded that she’d “do a sex scene with another woman… [with] 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… I had to say yes,” she says.
Hayek describes how she “had a nervous breakdown” on set while filming the scene, adding: “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… It was not because I would be naked with another woman. It was because I would be naked with her for Harvey Weinstein.”
Read Hayek’s full op-ed here.
Weinstein’s lawyers haven’t yet responded to these latest accusations, but said in a statement last week: “Mr Weinstein has never at any time committed an act of sexual assault, and it is wrong and irresponsible to conflate claims of impolitic behaviour or consensual sexual contact later regretted, with an untrue claim of criminal conduct.”
“There is a wide canyon between mere allegation and truth, and we are confident that any sober calculation of the facts will prove no legal wrongdoing occurred. Nonetheless, to those offended by Mr. Weinstein’s behavior, he remains deeply apologetic.”