In a candid conversation with Oprah Winfrey, Salma Hayek revealed that she felt guilt over coming forward with her Harvey Weinstein story.
The Beatriz at Dinner actress told Winfrey during their conversation at a taping of Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations on Wednesday that she didn't feel like her pain was big enough to warrant a story — or, at least, not as big as other women who have come forward against the disgraced producer.
In December of 2017, The New York Times published Hayek's piece, titled "Harvey Weinstein Is My Monster Too." In the article, Hayek stated that Weinstein allegedly bullied her during production of her film Frida, propositioned her sexually, and threatened her with physical violence when she denied his requests.
Hayek, at the taping for Winfrey's SuperSoul Conversations, alleged that the producer reiterated those threats to Frida director Julie Taymor.
"He said to [Frida director] Julie Taymor, 'I am going to break the kneecaps of that 'c-word.'"
She then explained to Winfrey that, despite the bullying she allegedly suffered, she was hesitant to come forward. She even decided against publishing her piece in The New York Times on multiple occasions. It was only months later, after many other women came forward against Weinstein and other allegedly abusive people in Hollywood, that she decided to speak up.
"When the information about Harvey came out, I was ashamed I didn’t say anything," Hayek told Winfrey. "But I felt like my pain was so small compared to all the other stories."
Weinstein, through his representative, responded to the accusation:
"Mr. Weinstein apologizes for his boorish behavior following a screening of Frida prompted by his disappointment in the cut of the movie — and a reason he took a firm hand in the final edit. However, his conflict was with Julie Taymor not Ms. Hayek. Mr. Weinstein never fought with Ms. Hayek on set and this comment does not reflect how he feels about her; he doesn’t recall ever saying such an awful thing... Mr. Weinstein deeply apologizes to Ms. Hayek for any pain she has suffered as a result of his behavior or comments. Mr. Weinstein has great respect for her as an actress and a producer and thinks there are many more [films like Frida] for her to produce in the future and that she doesn’t need anyone to help her — she's terrific by herself."
Hayek's story is a reminder of what the #MeToo movement is really about. It's not about comparing battle scars to see who had it worse: It's about standing with your fellow human when faced with situations of abuse or misconduct. Toxic individuals often use their power to keep the survivors of their abuse silent — and that includes making things seem like "not that big of a deal" when people speak up about being hurt by their actions.
The actress is over staying silent, and it's an important reminder that time's up on people feeling guilty for sharing their painful experiences. The only person who should feel guilty is the perpetrator.
Refinery29 has reached out to reps for Hayek for comment and will update this post should we hear back.
If you have experienced sexual violence and are in need of crisis support, please call the RAINN Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).
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