Mexican actress Salma Hayek, who debuted in Hollywood in the early 90s, narrated the agony she suffered under Harvey Weinstein’s control before and after filming for Frida (2002), a film that won her nominations for most of the awards that year.
Writing for The New York Times — the same publication that chronicled the top Hollywood producer’s sordid behaviour towards actresses, interns, writers, and other women who had worked under him — Salma wrote of how she first met Weinstein and how her bagging the role of actress and producer in Frida turned into a nightmare when the harassment from the producer continued for years.
While Salma had been a fairly known face in Hollywood, known for her performances in Fools Rush In and Desperado, the acceptance she got in the industry wasn’t quick, where she was often given supporting roles instead of good lead ones. To her, Weinstein came off as a saviour who would take her film on the female Mexican painter to heights.
“I did not care about the money; I was so excited to work with him and that company. In my naïveté, I thought my dream had come true. He had validated the last 14 years of my life. He had taken a chance on me — a nobody. He had said yes. Little did I know it would become my turn to say no,” she wrote. She further adds how she said no to him multiple times, no to showers with him, no to massages with him, no to oral sex, no to getting naked with other women.
At the end, she faced his wrath where he went out of his way to make things difficult for 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. 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. In his eyes, I was not an artist. I wasn’t even a person. I was a thing: Not a nobody, but a body,” she wrote.
Weinstein’s sexual misconduct came to the fore on October 5, when actress Ashley Judd spoke of how she was accosted by him two decades ago. Actress Rose McGowan, too, was the focal point of the article. According to the report, McGowan was under duress to reach a settlement with Weinstein after an incident in a hotel room during the Sundance Film Festival.
Top actresses like Kate Winslet, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Angelina Jolie spoke up, adding more credibility to the Times‘ exposé.
This created a domino-effect, with other celebrities calling out their experiences of sexual misconduct by those in power. Kevin Spacey, Louis CK, Bryan Singer, and many others were being called out for their unacceptable behaviour in the past.
Feature Image: CBC.CA