In a powerful essay for the New York Times, actor and producer Salma Hayek claimed disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein repeatedly sexually harassed her and tried to shutter one of her major films when she turned down his advances.
Before she broke out as a mainstream Hollywood star, Hayek said she approached Weinstein to pick up Frida, a biopic she wanted to star in and produce about Frida Khalo. Weinstein's production company, Miramax, bought the rights to the film, and Hayek said she was thrilled: "He had taken a chance on me—a nobody. He had said yes."
But soon, Hayek wrote, Weinstein repeatedly made unwanted sexual advances toward her. In her words, it became "my turn to say no":
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…
Hayek said rebuffing Weinstein's advances infuriated him so deeply that, ultimately, he threatened to kill her.
"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 wrote.
Enraged at Hayek, Weinstein allegedly worked to shutter Frida, which Hayek had been working on for years. He threw her extreme demands, like raising $10 million, reworking the script, and getting A-list actors signed on under a short deadline. When Hayek managed to meet them, Weinstein allegedly threatened to shut down production on the film unless Hayek agreed to a sex scene with another woman, featuring full-frontal nudity. She unwillingly agreed, but grew so upset the day of the shoot that she broke down, crying, convulsing, and vomiting before filming.
"He had been constantly asking for more skin, for more sex," she wrote. She added, "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."
The film went on to win two Oscars, and solidified Hayek as a major star in the movie industry. Now, she is just one of the many high-profile women to come forward accusing Weinstein of sexual harassment, adding her name to the list of more than 80 women who he allegedly terrorized over roughly three decades.
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