In an op-ed published in The New York Times, Salma Hayek revealed the extent to which Harvey Weinstein, who’s now been accused by about 90 women of sexual harassment or assault, was also “her monster.” Hayek collaborated with Weinstein on her 2002 film Frida, a partnership she initially considered a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity but quickly turned into a nightmarish scenario. Weinstein harassed her repeatedly, following her to movie sets he wasn’t involved in, occasionally becoming violent. Hayek says he not only threatened to kill her at one point, but also dragged her out of her own movie premiere because he was unhappy with the final edit.
Hayek’s distressing experiences on the set of Frida, including having to take a tranquilizer to shoot the nude sex scene Weinstein demanded, make for a difficult read, one that was undoubtedly a million times harder for Hayek to write, even 15 years later. And, as has been his wont where women of color are concerned, Weinstein has directly responded to Hayek’s allegations to deny them or claim he has no memory of them. USA Today has Weinstein’s full statement, issued by one of his mouthpieces, in which the disgraced movie mogul subtly slams Hayek by claiming to go to bat for the Beatriz At Dinner actress when Jennifer Lopez, who was a bigger star in 2002, expressed interest in playing Frida Kahlo. He goes on to wave off Hayek’s experiences as “creative friction,” and claims he “does not recall pressuring Salma to do a gratuitous sex scene,” but he doesn’t specifically address the alleged death threats.
The full statement is below, though, unlike when he attempted to refute Lupita Nyong’o’s claims, Weinstein did not dictate this from predator rehab somewhere.
Mr. Weinstein regards Salma Hayek as a first-class actress and cast her in several of his movies, among them Once Upon a Time in Mexico, Dogma, and Studio 54. He was very proud of her Best Actress Academy Award nomination for Frida and continues to support her work.
While Jennifer Lopez was interested in playing Frida and at the time was a bigger star, Mr. Weinstein overruled other investors to back Salma as the lead. Miramax put up half of the money and all of the P&A; the budget was over 12 million. As in most collaborative projects, there was creative friction on Frida, but it served to drive the project to perfection. The movie opened in multiple theaters and was supported by a huge advertising campaign and an enormous Academy Awards budget.
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. 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 original uni-brow used was an issue because it diverted attention from the performances. 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.
Ed Norton, who was Ms. Hayek’s boyfriend at the time, (worked with Mr. Weinstein on the rewrite of the script in Mexico) did a brilliant job of rewriting the script and Mr. Weinstein battled the WGA to get him a credit on the film. His effort was unsuccessful to everyone’s disappointment.
By Mr. Weinstein’s own admission, his boorish behavior following a screening of Frida was prompted by his disappointment in the cut of the movie—and a reason he took a firm hand in the final edit, alongside the very skilled director Julie Taymor.