Tuesday the NY Times published a piece by actress Salma Hayek in which she admits she hasn’t been completely forthcoming about her experiences with Harvey Weinstein. In the piece, Hayek praises women who have come forward with stories about Weinstein but describes him a “my monster too.”
I knew him a little bit through my relationship with the director Robert Rodriguez and the producer Elizabeth Avellan, who was then his wife, with whom I had done several films and who had taken me under their wing. All I knew of Harvey at the time was that he had a remarkable intellect, he was a loyal friend and a family man.
Knowing what I know now, I wonder if it wasn’t my friendship with them — and Quentin Tarantino and George Clooney — that saved me from being raped.
Hayek brought Weinstein her passion project, the film Frida, in which she starred and which she co-produced. The film would eventually be nominated for six Oscars, but Weinstein used his control over the project to consistently make inappropriate requests to which Hayek always said no:
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 …
Hayek says that each time she refused him, Weinstein became more and more furious. His anger peaked when he pulled her aside, five weeks into shooting the film, and said he would not release it unless she agreed to do a topless sex scene in the film. Having failed to get what he wanted behind the scenes, Weinstein was demanding it in front of the cameras.
It was clear to me he would never let me finish this movie without him having his fantasy one way or another. There was no room for negotiation.
I had to say yes. By now so many years of my life had gone into this film. We were about five weeks into shooting, and I had convinced so many talented people to participate. How could I let their magnificent work go to waste?…
My mind understood that I had to do it, but my body wouldn’t stop crying and convulsing. At that point, I started throwing up while a set frozen still waited to shoot. I had to take a tranquilizer, which eventually stopped the crying but made the vomiting worse. As you can imagine, this was not sexy, but it was the only way I could get through the scene.
Years later she said she met Weinstein somewhere and he praised her work on the film (which had won two Oscars). He said he’d had a heart attack and that his latest marriage had changed his life. Obviously, we now know that wasn’t true but it was a moment of repentance that allowed Hayek to believe his bad behavior was in the past.
Hayek’s story doesn’t add much to what we already know about Weinstein. In fact, as she says, the most surprising part of it may be that he didn’t attempt to rape her during one of his multiple visits to her various hotel rooms. Perhaps her connection with Quentin Tarantino spared her, just as it seems to have spared Mira Sorvino, from Weinstein crossing the line from harassment to assault.