Salma Hayek wrote a harrowing op-ed about Harvey Weinstein’s years of abuse

2017 LACMA Art and Film Gala

The New York Times published an op-ed from Salma Hayek on Wednesday. If you haven’t read it already, you need to prepare yourself emotionally, because it is another gut-wrenching story about Harvey Weinstein. Salma talks at length about why she didn’t come forward sooner, and it’s a vivid portrait of how even one of the most famous and beautiful women in the world can still deal with the guilt and self-blaming that comes with being abused and being harassed. She acknowledges that her story isn’t better or worse than other stories about Harvey Weinstein, and acknowledges that her friendships and connections with powerful people in Weinstein’s orbit – people like Robert Rodriguez, Quentin Tarantino and George Clooney – probably “saved” her from a worse fate. You can read the full piece here:

She really came into Weinstein’s orbit because she pursued him professionally, wanting him to produce her Frida Kahlo bio-pic. He agreed to produce it, and he wanted Salma to do more films with Miramax. When she signed the contract, that’s when everything started. He said yes to her professionally, and then she had to say no to his demands:

“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,” Hayek wrote. “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.”

She writes that every refusal was met with “Harvey’s Machiavellian rage” and while he often tried to sweet-talk her to get his way, threats would also be part of his armory. One time, she claims, “in an attack of fury” he said to her: “I will kill you, don’t think I can’t.”

[From The Guardian & THR]

She details some of the other crap she went through, like Weinstein dragging her away from an opening night party at Cannes so she would go to his “private party” with prostitutes. When the demands and the phone calls at all hours of the night became too much, Salma tried to remove Frida from Miramax and get the lawyers involved. He gave her a list of demands to get her film made, and she met those demands (like a script re-write, that kind of thing). When the production began, he turned up on set and threw everybody but Salma off the set. When they were alone, he berated her, told her that she only had her beauty and no talent, and that her Frida must be made sexier or else he was going to pull the plug. The only way Salma could continue making the film, he said, was if she agreed to a lesbian sex scene, with Salma doing full-frontal nudity. She didn’t want to do it, but she was between a rock and a hard place, because she truly believed that Weinstein would shut down the production if she didn’t acquiesce. So she did.

The actress wrote that she eventually gave in to an alleged demand by Weinstein that, “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. He had been constantly asking for more skin, for more sex.”

She agreed, not wanting the production to fold. “I arrived on the set the day we were to shoot the scene that I believed would save the movie,” she writes. “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 wrote of being troubled the day of performing the scene: “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.”

[From The Guardian & THR]

After the film was completed, Weinstein still played games, threatening to only release it on video, with no theatrical release. The director Julie Taymor had to get involved and Harvey was a total rage-monster to her too. This is all so sick.

Update: You can read Weinstein’s response to Salma here. I’m not going to cover it separately because who gives a sh-t what he has to say? His statement is just a denial about the making of Frida too, he doesn’t even address her claims about his pattern of harassment and abuse.

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85 Responses to “Salma Hayek wrote a harrowing op-ed about Harvey Weinstein’s years of abuse”

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  1. Crowdhood says:

    I have read so many comments that say “so she should have said no and taken the film somewhere else”. Because men don’t realize how limited our options really are. And because that film didn’t have a super hero or naked chorus line of women the options become even more limited. Whatever you do, do not read the comments on any article regarding her piece unless it is here. People are truly abysmal.

    • SK says:

      Yes I saw women saying that unless she reported it to the police her story has no validity. [Insert massive eye roll here]. The police rarely take sexual harassment charges seriously and hardly ever prosecute them. So she likely would have killed her career and her passion project film and then probably had no effort made by the police whatsoever to do anything about it. People are so frustrating, they have no idea how these situations work, the pressures involved, the self-blame and denial and shame, and the terrible terrible responses (or total lack thereof) of higher ups and the justice system.

      • Tan says:

        It baffles me when women make such comments
        Given the all pervading harassment against women, at some point or other the woman herself or someone closer to her was also a victim

        Do they just screw around online belittling other people?

        Or are they those, who thinks when it happens to other, they “deserve” it

      • Lizzie says:

        that’s so stupid. its not illegal for a movie producer to demand a sex scene or pull someone out of a party to go hang out with prostitutes – it is just disgusting and completely and totally inappropriate. you can’t arrest someone for being as asshole…which is exactly why these powerful guys know they an get away with doing this stuff. it isn’t technically illegal and they can hold people hostage to their demands and abuse by threatening them. she could have tried to take this film elsewhere but we all know he would have called around and threatened every studio to not take it on and it would have gotten buried.

    • Snowflake says:

      People are abysmal. He should not be doing that. She should not have to move things around because of him.

    • Nanny to the Rescue says:

      In the article:

      “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. I tried to get it out of his company.”

      So she did try to take it elsewhere but, as explained in the whole freaking article, couldn’t. People really should read the whole piece before making judgments. And do folks understand that after contracts are signed, getting out, even if you have a miracle back-up friend, isn’t so simple anymore?

    • Raina says:

      Sadly, yeah, I only read the comments on very few publications. I don’t have the stomach for it anymore. And the rage gives me ulcer pains.

    • Marianne says:

      Not just men. Ive seen plenty of women drag her too. It makes me sad because that kind of attitude is exactly why so many women stay silent in the first place.

  2. SK says:

    I really hate him so much. Note that this is the one of the only stories he has rushed to debunk with a bunch of pathetic excuses. I wonder if it is because she is connected to financiers etc. through her billionaire husband – the kind of people who Weinstein hopes will fund him when he tries to make a come-back?

    • Rapunzel says:

      He’s responded to only Salma and Lupita. You can guess what they have in common, and it ain’t rich, connected husbands.

      It’s that they are both WOC.

      • HadToChangeMyName says:

        Yes, it’s almost like they should have been grateful for his piggish attentions since he spent money on their projects.

      • SK says:

        I did notice that too, it is very true. He has assaulted other women of colour too and did not dispute their stories. They both gave highly detailed accounts that paint a very clear picture (an aside – they are both wonderful writers), I wonder if that also hits a nerve with him? I think it could be a number of factors combined. They are WOC, they wrote these detailed accounts which really make people understand how it was, also Salma is connected to people he probably needs down the track.

      • msd says:

        I wish people would stop saying this because it isn’t true. He disputed Brit Marling’s account like this …

        “Brit Marling is a super talented actress and writer. Mr. Weinstein has a different recollection of the events.”

        That’s the same wording he used to dispute Lupita’s account …

        “Mr. Weinstein has a different recollection of the events, but believes Lupita is a brilliant actress and a major force for the industry.”

        He hired a new spokeswoman, Sallie Hofmeister, in late October and she started putting out rebuttals addressed to each woman instead of just blank denials about no sexual activity being non-consensual, blah, blah …

    • Tiffany :) says:

      He’s really an example of the worst of humanity.

  3. Rapunzel says:

    Dailyfail has HW’s response. He claims the lesbian sex scene was necessary. F__king pig.

    Salma is now married to a billionaire. He better treat her right.

    • Frida_K says:

      Well, you can tell by my name how I feel about this topic. And yes, as to Harvey Wankstain, “f_cking pig” does sum it up.

      I loved this movie but always felt that the nudity and sex were egregious. To me, they rendered the movie somewhat cheesy and dropped it down a notch. The story of Frida’s life, like that of Tina Modotti, does not need to be gussied up via tits and @ss to make it fascinating and worthy.

      • SK says:

        See I think sex scenes and nudity are beautiful if they are done right. I love a good sex scene. In Europe they are much more common. I do think Americans have some weird hang-ups about nudity and sex. Frida Kahlo was a powerful, sexual woman – why must she be depicted as chaste and sexless? However, the way he forced these scenes in makes me sick and for those reasons I wish they weren’t in there.

      • Frida_K says:

        @SK, I agree with you about the sex scenes…as you note, if they are done right. My issue is that here they seemed to me more for show and less for the overall film.

        Chavela Vargas, the woman who sang La Llorona to Frida in the bar? That singer, in real life, was reputed to be one of Frida’s real-life partners. That I can recollect, Tina Modotti was not involved with Kahlo. There is a lot to say about Frida’s life, including the way she opted to express gender and sexuality. The ickiness of the sex scenes in this movie does the narrative of her sexuality no favors. I think that if a person knows of Frida’s life, and of Tina’s life, then one would look at this movie and say: Eh, the sex scenes were prettied up for someone, and that someone isn’t the ghost of Frida Kahlo.

        I’m not 100% American and have lived in Europe, fwiw.

      • Tiny Martian says:

        I’m currently reading “Down and Dirty Pictures” about the rise of Miramax and Sundance in the 90′s, and it’s very telling in its descriptions of both the Weinsteins and their behaviour: Abusive louts, known for insisting on chopping up films and adding more sex and violence or they’d pull the plug on production. Power mad individuals with no ethics. The sexual assaults were part of an obvious pattern of abusive behaviour that extended to pretty much everyone and anyone in Harvey’s sphere………….and yet there are those who spoke highly of him despite it all, because Miramax made (some) good movies.

      • msd says:

        I read Down and Dirty Pictures years ago and it feels notable now that Peter Biskind never mentioned anything about sexual harassment or abuse. He said a while ago that he didn’t include it because it was just rumours but Biskind is a total gossip hound. He covered for Harvey. Then I remembered how misogynistic I found some of his writing in Easy Riders Raging Bulls, and that he wrote that godawful Heath Ledger profile in VF that was nasty about Michelle Williams … urgh.

  4. PPP says:

    THIS is what it takes for a woman to get a movie made in Hollywood. The Max Landises can poop out scripts that flop and flop and be crazy but end up being coddled and continue to be produced. These are woman with money and connections and talent and they made a fantastic movie and they were shat on to the point that they could never even enjoy their success. Frida was an incredible movie and given that she’s behind Ugly Betty, I think we really lost out on what Salma Hayek could have brought to us. Similarly, Julie Taymor is a director of singular vision who should be far more well-known. Imagine if she didn’t have to fight like this for amazing movies like Titus and the Tempest. Imagine if she were treated like Tarantino.

    One of the biggest things for me, growing up, was wondering where all the great female authors and inventors and scientists were– and they are out there. Murasaki Shikibu and Hypatia and Ada Lovelace. But they are consistently discredited and for any one of them there are a hundred who lived in a world far worse than our “enlightened” times.

    We cannot back down from this sea change and I suspect female-only production houses and companies are going to be the only way to turn the tide. I also remember listening to the podcast “You are not so Smart” on collective intelligence, and apparently groups that had >50% women were those that performed best on a variety of tasks. So that’s an alternative as well, but I see now why so many women in Hollywood end up starting their own production houses.

    • frisbee says:

      I agree with you, this is the other appalling strand to these horrible events, the way intelligent, creative women have had thier careers stalled and stymied by this foul individual. We have lost out on so much potentially good work, possibly even great work because of the endemic chauvinism in the film (and other) industries.

    • laulau says:

      Interesting thoughts, I also used to wonder why women didn’t make up more of the inventors/entrepreneurs, especially because the top of my classes were always male and female.
      If you hire Julie Taymor you should definitely treat her like Tarantino but I imagine Julie has had a much rougher road to respect.
      I hope Salma produces more projects, she is so smart (there was a talk at Cannes with Salma and it was great).

    • BorderMollie says:

      I always wondered about the horrible gender disparity in Hollywood too, and the whole picture is only starting to come together. Women have been kept down not only by the old boys network, but by its constant harassment on every level. Reading Lexi Alexander’s Twitter has been illuminating for accounts of how horribly women filmmakers are treated, especially woc.

      Hollywood needs a Goop style cleanse.

    • Skoochy says:

      ‘they could never even enjoy their success’… I have to say I got choked up at that. It’s so true. As women, by the time we’ve accomplished what we’ve set out to achieve, we are systematically made to feel it wasn’t worth it. If it’s going against the grain or trying to break into the boys club, we are going to be made to pay and we will not be allowed to enjoy one second of it.

      Projecting my own issues on here today but that sentence got me!

    • Kath says:

      See: Rosalind Franklin. Pioneering woman scientist who gave no shits, only to have her greatest discovery robbed, have others (men) take the credit, then turn around and belittle the accomplishment that they stole.

      And that’s a women who actually managed to go to uni and get employed in her chosen field. Imagine how many others who didn’t even make it that far.

  5. neelyo says:

    Another jaw dropping story. Fucking A, she had to crawl through glass to get that picture made and all because he was a monster. No words awful enough for Weinstein.

  6. Azureskies says:

    There is such an emerging pattern to Weinstein’s behavior. The picture is trying to click into place, psychologically speaking, but it’s hard to be analytical about this because dozens (probably hundreds) of women have been hurt or destroyed by him. But still, a picture is emerging of his MO.

  7. Abby says:

    This story made me so sad. He is such a terrible human being. I’m proud of her for being able to make the film that was so important to her, but sad that he did all those terrible things to her along the way.

  8. Mia4s says:

    It’s going to be a very long time before I’m excited about anything from Hollywood (awards season? Don’t care. New Star Wars movie? Whatever.) It is a sick, abusive system and most of the enablers and cooperators are still there and in power. None of the work…sorry, art…they produced was worth systematic sexual abuse and rape. None of it. I wish those who simply struggle to do their work in Hollywood and the entertainment industry well, but sadly your chosen profession has been tainted as something very ugly.

  9. Fleurucci says:

    She’s beautiful successful loved and married to a billionaire and still didn’t “dare” or whatever speak out about the sexual harassment, thats a good illustration of how strong rape culture is, how we never want to speak out (me too) and that’s related to the perpetrators getting away with it of course :(

  10. yellow belly says:

    He’s run the gamut. The only upside is that we have industry veterans coming forward with all possible interations of sexual power abuse and manipulation.
    This answers nicely why she just didn’t say no, why she just didn’t leave. Partially because of the power and existing ties, partially because there was no other option, and partially because there is no safe harbour. Anywhere else could be worse.

  11. Lucy says:

    …all I have to say (because I don’t know if I can say anything else right now) is that my respect for Salma is completely, absolutely off the roof.

  12. smcollins says:

    I read it yesterday gasping throughout. Awful. Just awful. Salma is a strong & brave woman, and she shouldn’t think of herself as anything less.

  13. SM says:

    Always count on Harvey to ruin a lunch. My God, I feel sick to my stomach. The struggle he put her though, the huminiation. She is indeed a very stong women because if I had to go though that while doing my dream job, I am not sure I would came out alive on the other end.

  14. Alexandria says:

    Wasn’t she targeted by the Dotard too?

  15. monette says:

    Beyond sick! Thank you Selma for coming forward! You matter, your story matters.
    I am not interested in any response HW has or any of his “truths”.
    When I saw the title I instantly thought of Uma and how heartbreaking her story is going to be when she decides she is ready to speak up.

  16. SoulSPA says:

    It’s been difficult for me to follow these HW stories. Is there any possibility to get this excuse of human being to justice? I understand he’s harassed and threatened some of his victims. Got former Israeli spies to get close to Rose McGowan I think? And got sensitive info of her and HW used it against her? And now more stories come out like Salma’s. The snowball is just getting bigger and bigger. Enter statute of limitations and uncooperative police, the whole group of producers and PAs and all other people in the industry who may have a lot to loose individually and victim blaming and victim shaming. What the heck will happen? He must pay for what he’s done. Ruined reputation is not enough. Plus all the stories of sexual crimes committed by other men in the industry. It’s a disaster. What can be done for those women and men? And avoid situations like this. I can see lots of money made in legal offices so that businesses will protect their commercial interests and reputation. At what cost for actors of both genders? There is too much money in the film industry and some people may be willing to accept signing NDAs as a condition for roles. The system is rotten.

  17. Talie says:

    He basically ruined an entire generation of actresses who came up in the 90s. Some survived him and some didn’t…and it’ just so damn sad. Wasted potential and talent because of his sickness.

    • PPP says:

      The thing is, EVERY generation of actresses has been ruined like this. Just look at the stories from old Hollywood, and the slower roll-outs of pervs like Dustin Hoffman.

      And let’s go further. Why are there so few women in tech? Look at what happened to Ellen Pao. There’s a lot of stories of sexual assault in academia. In finance. In politics. Women on the bottom, in service industries? They just fucking live with it and go from job to job when it gets to be too much.

      • neelyo says:

        I keep thinking of the great actresses of the 60s and 70s who worked with the Hoffmans, Pacinos, etc. So many great actresses of that period who never had a chance because of the pervasive boys’ club culture. Going back even further, how difficult was Bette Davis really? Olivia deHavilland fighting for her rights against Warner Brothers? Lillian Gish? Gloria Swanson? But those stories are the outliers. There were so many more women who were victims of the system and never allowed to flourish. Branded as difficult for demanding respect and equality. Cast out, blacklisted, never given the chance to do as much as they could. And that’s only what’s known of the people in front of the camera.

        And the stories that were told in movies had huge cultural impact. They reflected as well as shaped the culture. And so many of those stories were created by men for men and even those created for women were primarily created by men. There are so many levels to it all.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        Yes. As a society, we have missed out on so much because of the suppression of women and people of color.

    • adastraperaspera says:

      This is the first thing I thought too! Women and girls are hounded out of every industry, every public space! No wonder we cannot advance as a civilization. I was helping my young niece with her premed plans this past weekend, and at times I felt so sad and angry, because I can see that already teachers and others are not taking her aspirations as seriously as they are taking her boyfriend’s (he wants to be an MD also). I didn’t tell her, because I don’t want to dampen her enthusiasm at all.

      • Veronica says:

        Yes, if you take any women’s studies courses, you’ll find that’s one of the biggest issues they run into – it’s not that women aren’t INTERESTED in certain fields, it’s that not only are not they socialized against certain desires but are literally locked out of them via access discrimination or hostile environments. Men guard their power jealousy. It’s why women have been so limited from the start. When given the opportunity, women will perform at equal or even superior levels than their male counterparts in most industries.

    • holly hobby says:

      Didn’t Julie Taymor’s directing career died after Frida? He probably killed her film career as well. She was a real up and comer and now nothing?

  18. Adrien says:

    “Frida” was great. It should have gotten a better rating. Back then, I thought critics were harsh on the film because it was directed by a woman.

  19. Maria F. says:

    Her story is very upsetting. She is not my favourite person, but I am happy that she now is an established player and has her husband’s billions as back up. I am sure she was treated differently once she was married to him. Not that it’s commendable, but that is unfortunately the reality. I am sure HW did not mess with Henri.

    • Aren says:

      Same here, I don’t like her, but it’s very good she’s offering a different perspective of how she became a victim. She was making this film, and still it happened.
      As for the husband, from things she has said, I believe he’s not a nice person.
      Like when she said it was him who sent her back to acting because he didn’t want a lazy woman at home.

      • Ennie says:

        as if Salma would stay at home doing nothing but getting manicures and watching over the nanny, she is restless and ambitious (in a good way). She was a rich kid who left Mexico when she was a recognized actress, making money and projects to start from the bottom and as a minority actress. She is not perfect, but I recognize how she is out there. I had not heard that story about her husband (who is also far from perfect , but he met her as a working woman and I think they make a good match.

  20. momoffour says:

    This story actually brought me to tears. It’s not just that he assualted women- it’s that he demeaned them and tried to destroy them psychologically. I recognize some of this behavior (less extreme of course) from men in my field when i was younger and not as powerful in my field as i am today. I am a lawyer. My former partners, a male good old boys club that ran the firm, used to play these kind of games (again much less extreme) to keep me in my place, so to speak, when i would demand equal pay and a voice in the operations of the firm. I left the firm to move to another, not sexist firm, but it took me years to recover from the abuse and mistreated i got at my old firm. Women really need to stand together.

    • TyrantDestroyed says:

      I sadly have to agree with you. When I was 23 and just finished my Masters I started my career at one of the largest multinational companies. Unfortunately, the imported local corporate culture made a living hell working there for the few women. We were policed over our outfits, weight and makeup, because the presence of a beautiful woman during a stressful meeting “smothered” the ambiance. We were merely beautiful objets to look at. I received tons of inapropiate compliments and gifts (such as parfum and makeup ) from my male superiors and I was told to feel flatered by them.
      The moment they learn I was about to get married is when my career there was done and the mobbing started. I badly needed the job and continued there until I was able to land a new one.
      I took me years to overcome this s*th.

  21. Rose says:

    Look how she’s clinging to her husband in that last picture where they’re standing with HW, he must still terrify her

  22. Cora says:

    He threatened to kill her. My God. I can’t get that out of my head. He actually threatened to kill her and she still had the strength to say no. If he threatened to kill Salma then he would have thought nothing of threatening other women’s lives, too. How may women gave in to his abuse, not just out of fear for their careers, but out of fear for their lives? This is a whole new level of horror and a terrifying turn of events in the Weinstein case.

    • Pamela says:

      Yes, exactly Cora. Also….makes me wonder where he has the bodies buried, because that “I can kill you, don’t think I can’t” sounds an awful lot like someone who has done it before.

      Salma’s story, in particular, upset me to my core. He basically made her do that scene so he could force her to let him see her naked with another woman…..

      I don’t know. He has done plenty to be disgusted by…but I think the fact that she managed to say no to so many of his advances and he still MADE SURE to find a way to “get” her justn somehow makes this worse.

  23. Vovicia says:

    I not a vigilante kind of person, but I really am now wishing for a Handmaid’s Tale Particicution ceremony. I think that’s what he deserves.

  24. gatorbait says:

    Ugh, Dogma is one of my favorite movies but after this I’m now thinking about how that was a Miramax movie and she played a stripper in it dancing in a very pedo friendly way, in my opinion (Candy Girl song, bubble gum blowing, pigtails). Probably one of the roles she mentioned him having her take. He’s gross for treating her this way. He’s gross for many things. Maybe it’s her way of writing but this is a very vivid tale.

  25. Texasho says:

    She should start a production house with Angelina and Meryl…..between the three of them they surely have the connections and financial backing to put decent work out there. Movies have always been my fix for loneliness, sadness, boredom, etc. I would love to one day watch a movie knowing there wasn’t this salacious behavior going down in order for it to be made. And I honestly think it will happen. But I’m an optimist….

  26. Reef says:

    This puts her comments to Jessica Williams in an interesting perspective that I’m not gracious enough to totally let slide but I will acknowledge that this essay gives me a broader understanding of where those comments came from and why she said what she said – trash though it was.

  27. smee says:

    I remember when Frida came to the theater I was excited to go and then baffled by why they made Frida so sexy (not that she wasn’t but this was not how I expected it to be depicted). Sadly, I blamed Salma H for making the movie that way. I feel guilty now that I know the reason why is came across as such a shallow film – another sick HW sex attack.

  28. Ginger says:

    Look at her CLINGING to her husband’s atm in that last photo. Very telling.

  29. Sarah Mckay says:

    I am stunned at her bravery and also by how thoughtful she was of her castmates. She crawled thru’ broken glass to not let them down. That disgusting pig deserves to be flayed alive!!

  30. Anare says:

    No one should ever insinuate that there was a better response that a victim should have used in the face of abuse. You flat out don’t know what all was going on for that victim at that time just STFU. It’s not your story.

    Beautifully written Salma! Thank you for taking the time to thoughtfully tell about the abuse you suffered at the hands of this miserable POS HW.