Published: Thursday, December 14, 2017 @ 3:27 PM
By: Kelcie Willis, Cox Media Group National Content Desk
— Salma Hayek has come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against film producer Harvey Weinstein.
In a first-person story written for The New York Times, the actress describes Weinstein as “a passionate cinephile, a risk taker, a patron of talent in film, a loving father and a monster.”
Hayek, who previously said she was bullied by Weinstein in the wake of initial public sexual misconduct and rape allegations against the producer, is sharing details of sexual harassment on the set of the 2002 movie “Frida,” about the life of famed Mexican painter Frida Kahlo.
Hayek said that she knew little of Weinstein and what she did know was from her relationship with director Robert Rodriguez and his then-wife, producer Elizabeth Avellan.
“All I knew of Harvey at the time was that he had a remarkable intellect, he was a loyal friend and a family man,” she wrote.
“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.”
Hayek was initially set to work on the movie about the artist with a different company, but said she fought to get the movie back and work with Weinstein on it.
Eventually, she said she turned down multiple advances from Weinstein. Hayek said he showed up unexpectedly at numerous locations and different hotels, asked her to take a shower with him, let him watch her shower, give her a massage and get naked with another woman, among other advances.
“And with every refusal came Harvey’s Machiavellian rage,” Hayek said.
“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,’” Hayek said.
According to the actress, those refusals led Weinstein to offer the role and the script Hayek worked on for years to someone else.
“At that point, I had to resort to using lawyers, not by pursuing a sexual harassment case, but by claiming “bad faith,” as I had worked so hard on a movie that he was not intending to make or sell back to me,” she said. “I tried to get it out of his company.”
Hayek said once she was able to retain involvement in the film, she was told the only way people would be interested in it with her as the star is with an element of sex.
“The only thing he noticed was that I was not sexy in the movie. He made me doubt if I was any good as an actress, but he never succeeded in making me think that the film was not worth making,” she said.
“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.”
USA Today reported that Weinstein responded to Hayek with a statement through his spokeswoman Holly Baird.
“Mr. Weinstein regards Salma Hayek as a first-class actress and cast her in several of his movies, among them ‘Once Upon a Time in Mexico,’ ‘Dogma,’ and ‘Studio 54.’ He was very proud of her Best Actress Academy Award nomination for ‘Frida’ and continues to support her work.
“While Jennifer Lopez was interested in playing Frida and at the time was a bigger star, Mr. Weinstein overruled other investors to back Salma as the lead. Miramax put up half of the money and all of the P&A; the budget was over 12 million. As in most collaborative projects, there was creative friction on ‘Frida,’ but it served to drive the project to perfection. The movie opened in multiple theaters and was supported by a huge advertising campaign and an enormous Academy Awards budget.
“Mr. Weinstein does not recall pressuring Salma to do a gratuitous sex scene with a female costar and he was not there for the filming. However, that was part of the story, as Frida Kahlo was bisexual and the more significant sex scene in the movie was choreographed by Ms. Hayek with Geoffrey Rush. The original uni-brow used was an issue because it diverted attention from the performances. All of the sexual allegations as portrayed by Salma are not accurate and others who witnessed the events have a different account of what transpired.
“Ed Norton, who was Ms. Hayek’s boyfriend at the time, (worked with Mr. Weinstein on the rewrite of the script in Mexico) did a brilliant job of rewriting the script and Mr. Weinstein battled the WGA to get him a credit on the film. His effort was unsuccessful to everyone’s disappointment.
“By Mr. Weinstein’s own admission, his boorish behavior following a screening of ‘Frida’ was prompted by his disappointment in the cut of the movie—and a reason he took a firm hand in the final edit, alongside the very skilled director Julie Taymor.”