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UPDATED 10:11 p.m. ET: Harvey Weinstein, through a spokesperson, has responded to Salma Hayek's harassment allegations in a statement obtained by Variety.
"As in most collaborative projects, there was creative friction on “Frida,” but it served to drive the project to perfection. 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."
Original story below:
The New York Times has published a scathing personal account of Harvey Weinstein’s sexual impropriety, penned by Salma Hayek. In the piece, the Mexican-American actress bravely recounts her own horrific experiences with a man she describes as “my monster too.”
Hayek explains that she is choosing to speak out now, having previously believed her contribution to the list of allegations against the producer were somehow unimportant. After approached by journalists and friends, including fellow accuser, Ashley Judd, Salma is finally opening up, and her story is as terrifying as it is infuriating.
What’s particularly disturbing about Hayek’s account is how she managed to capture the way in which Harvey’s behavior reached far beyond his victims. The repercussions of his sexual misconduct, unpredictable temper, and vindictiveness wreaked havoc on the entire industry, and posed disastrous risks to the films he made and everyone who was a part of them. Salma is able to distill this ripple effect in her re-telling of how the film Frida, which she produced and starred in, was made.
For Hayek, the biopic was a long-time dream of hers, as she felt a sympatico of sorts with the renowned Mexican painter. She brought the film idea to Miramax, Weinstein’s production company, which at the time, had “become synonymous with quality, sophistication and risk taking." Hayek signed a deal with Harvey, wherein he would pay for the idea she had already developed, but she was also required to sign on to do other Miramax films– this seemed like a good thing at the time.
No sooner had Hayek entered into a contract with Weinstein that she also dealt with his persistent and uninvited sexual advances. The actress alleges Harvey would show up unexpectedly at her hotel room “at all hours of the night, hotel after hotel, location after location,” and once on a film “he wasn’t even involved with.” But there were also invitations Hayek had to decline, including taking a shower with him, watching him shower, giving him a massage, and getting naked with another woman. And every time she would reject him, Hayek was met with what she describes as “Harvey’s Machiavellian rage.”
His rage and resentment spilled over to the production of Frida, which he tried to end with a bitter legal dispute. When Hayek successfully met his rather ridiculous demands to get the film back up and running, he forced her into doing a sex scene with another woman, with full frontal nudity. “He had been constantly asking for more skin, for more sex,” Hayek said. The experience left her traumatized. “I arrived on the set the day we were to shoot the scene that I believed would save the movie. 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." Frida went on to win two Oscars, but not before Harvey tried to send it straight to video.
Hayek is just one of many women who have come forward with their own accounts of sexual misconduct from men in the entertainment industry, and Weinstein is by no means the only predator. Today, Variety published a 20-name-long list of women in Hollywood accompanied by a brief descriptions of their experiences. Among the names are Sully producer Allyn Stewart, writer Melissa Rosenberg (Twilight and Jessica Jones), and actress Joely Fisher (Til Death). Indeed, it appears as though a culture of sexual harassment infects every corner of the industry. But as Hayek notes, the demographics of power in Hollywood do not swing in the favor of women. “People wonder why you didn’t hear our voices sooner. I think the statistics are self-explanatory– or voices are not welcome,” she explained. “Until there is equality in our industry, with men and women having the same value in every aspect of it, our community will continue to be a fertile ground for predators.”