There’s yet another voice being added to the chorus of horrifying stories about Harvey Weinstein. Salma Hayek, in an op-ed penned for The New York Times, described years of abuse she suffered at Weinstein’s hand that ultimately culminated in a nervous breakdown on the set of her Weinstein-produced film, Frida.
“When so many women came forward to describe what Harvey had done to them, I had to confront my cowardice and humbly accept that my story, as important as it was to me, was nothing but a drop in an ocean of sorrow and confusion,” she wrote. “I felt that by now nobody would care about my pain — maybe this was an effect of the many times I was told, especially by Harvey, that I was nobody.”
Early in her career, Hayek wrote, she idolized Weinstein, who was leading a new wave of risk-taking and original films. Hayek had her idea for Frida, and she was desperate for Weinstein to take it on. Due, she speculates, to her friendship with Weinstein’s then-wife, he did.
“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,” she wrote. “Little did I know it would become my turn to say no.”
She continued, “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 …”
What was worse than having to say so many nos, Hayek wrote, was how angry it made Weinstein.
“I don’t think he hated anything more than the word ‘no,'” she wrote. “The absurdity of his demands went from getting a furious call in the middle of the night asking me to fire my agent for a fight he was having with him about a different movie with a different client to physically dragging me out of the opening gala of the Venice Film Festival, which was in honor of Frida, so I could hang out at his private party with him and some women I thought were models but I was told later were high-priced prostitutes.”
Once, after being turned down, Hayek said Weinstein threatened to kill her.
After years of such abuse, Hayek says Weinstein, in a last-ditch attempt after so many attempts to kill her film, told her it would only go forward if she, as Kahlo, acted in a sex scene with another woman. She agreed, she wrote, only to save her work and the work of the other actors and writers attached to the film.
“I arrived on the set the day we were to shoot the scene that I believed would save the movie,” she wrote. “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.”
Hayek says the scene gave her a full nervous breakdown. She had to distance herself from Frida‘s post-production. She was unable to celebrate when it became a box office and critical success, earning award nominations. All she could think about was Weinstein, who she said had become her “personal monster.”
Hayek credits her friendships with A-listers like George Clooney and Quentin Tarantino as the only reasons Weinstein listened to her refusals and never raped her. It’s a sobering thought, and even more sobering when you consider how many women have accused Weinstein of rape.
The good news is that Weinstein’s career appears to be over. The flood of accusations against him appears to have ensured he’s out of Hollywood for good. No one wants to be associated with him anymore, so maybe now, women are safe from him. The bad news is Hayek will surely not be the last woman to come forward with a heart-wrenching story like this one.