In December of 2017—remember last year? It wasn't super great—Salma Hayek came forward in the New York Times about her personal experience working with Harvey Weinstein during the making of 2002's Frida. "For years, he was my monster," she wrote in the essay, which details his increasing fury to Hayek rejecting his forceful advances.
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 …
She explains: "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 struggled with Weinstein's vicious threats and manipulation throughout the making of her film, which Weinstein attempted to wrestle away from her as a direct result of her refusals. "He claimed that my name as an actress was not big enough and that I was incompetent as a producer," Hayek wrote, after sharing the legal struggle she entered with Weinstein following his attempts to remove her from the film.
Weinstein denied Hayek's claims of sexual and emotional harassment.
On Wednesday evening, Hayek spoke in person with Oprah Winfrey for her SuperSoul Conversations series (the conversation will be available on the podcast). Hayek, according to The Hollywood Reporter, spoke at length about her struggle to even commence writing the essay for the Times. “They contacted me to be a part of the first story," Hayek said, referring to the October article that broke the Weinstein scandal, "and already by this contact, there was all this turmoil and I started crying when they asked and I ended up not doing it,” she said. “And then I felt ashamed that I was a coward. I was supporting women for two decades, and then I was a coward.”
Hayek explained, “When the information about Harvey came out, I was ashamed I didn’t say anything. But I felt like my pain was so small compared to all the other stories.” This was because, in her words, Weinstein "had a lot of respect for me. I earned it with blood, but he did." She made it clear that the Weinstein scandal is not singular. “[Weinstein] was not the first guy to do this to me," she said.
"I was really smart around him. I handled it really well," Hayek said, regarding Weinstein's monstrous behavior. She told Oprah that during the five-year making and releasing of Frida, “He told me he wanted to kill me." Hayek alleged that “He said to Julie Taymor [Frida's director] [...] 'I am going to break the kneecaps of that 'c-word.''"
According to Deadline, Oprah responded to Hayek with great understanding and noted her body language. “You’re reacting the way I have seen molested children act because they think they’re the only ones this has happened to."
Hayek went on to express anger at the binary roles men often force women into. “We are told, ‘You have to be the Virgin Mary, but you have to do what I say when I say, OK? You have to be attractive but you cannot be too attractive because then you are telling me that I can do whatever I want with you.’ What the f*ck is with you?”