Update, December 14, 2017, 11:30 a.m.: A spokesperson for Harvey Weinstein issued a statement to Deadline about Salma Hayek's claims about a sex scene added to Frida.
"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," the statement reads. "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 statement also says that "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."
This story was originally published on December 13, 2017.
Salma Hayek has written a disturbing op-ed for The New York Times in which she describes why Harvey Weinstein was "a monster" toward her.
Hayek's story centers on her experience working on 2002's Frida, in which she played artist Frida Kahlo. The actress writes that she was thrilled to work with Weinstein and Miramax at first, thinking he was a high-profile producer who wanted to help an up-and-coming actress.
Things quickly turned sour, she writes, when Weinstein allegedly harassed Hayek multiple times. According to Hayek, he asked her to watch him shower, to shower with him, to let him give her a massage, and to let him give her oral sex. Hayek adds that she said "no" every time, which she says produced a "Machiavellian rage" in Weinstein. She even claims that Weinstein threatened to kill her on one occasion.
"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 writes in the essay.
Hayek's piece shines a light on just how much power Weinstein wielded in the entertainment industry. The actress writes that Weinstein told her Frida wouldn't attract audiences because they were only interested in her "sex appeal," and threatened to shut down production. His price for renewed filming: a full-frontal nude scene between Hayek and another woman (among other things). Even after saying "no" time and time again, Hayek was still reportedly forced to put her body on public display at the demands of Weinstein. As a result, Hayek alleges that she ended up having a panic attack and taking tranquilizers to get through the scene she was forced to do "for Harvey Weinstein."
Hayek's accusations are extremely distressing — her essay implies that when she said no to Weinstein in her personal life, she was forced to be naked on screen in a movie that didn't require nudity.
"In his eyes, I was not an artist. I wasn't even a person," Hayek writes. "I was a thing: not a nobody, but a body."
As Hayek notes in her piece, many other women have also come forward with their own alleged experiences with Weinstein. And given the lengths Weinstein reportedly went to keep their stories from getting out, it's even more important for us to hear these women's accounts. In addition to Hayek, A-listers like Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow have also come forward about Weinstein, as have other actresses and former Weinstein employees. Six women have also sued Weinstein for racketeering.
Weinstein has denied all allegations of nonconsensual sex.
The entertainment industry is currently undergoing a wave of allegations about sexual misconduct, with many powerful men once thought untouchables losing their positions in a matter of hours. By speaking out, women like Hayek accelerated this long overdue momentum. Though the allegations in Hayek's essay are horrifying, they demonstrate an important point: women have had a long and silent fight to be viewed as artists.
A rep for Hayek declined to comment further on this story. Refinery29 has also reached out to Weinstein's rep for additional comment.
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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