In a sickening opinion piece for The New York Times, actress Salma Hayek sheds new light on producer Harvey Weinstein's abusive behavior. Although the piece is filled with abhorrent anecdotes, perhaps the most disturbing is Hayek's claim that Weinstein once threatened her life.
In the early 2000s, the Mexico native struggled to realize Frida, a film based on Mexican painter Frida Kahlo. Weinstein agreed to create the movie with his company, Miramax, forcing Hayek to work closely with him. After making a number of sexual advances that Hayek swiftly rejected, the producer became angry and resentful.
"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 wrote.
As she paints a picture of her early career, Hayek describes her position as a struggling female actress with little influence — the perfect target for a powerful male with enormous pull. Weinstein used this power to harass Hayek to the point that, as she puts it, she's surprised he never raped her.
Weinstein also allegedly told her the only thing she had going for her was her "sex appeal," resulting in a sort of "Stockholm Syndrome" as Hayek struggled to prove herself to him.
Hayek wasn't paid to produce Frida, a policy she says was common in the '90s. Even so, she was so thrilled someone had embraced the project that she felt indebted to Weinstein.
"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," she recalls. "He had validated the last 14 years of my life. He had taken a chance on me — a nobody. He had said yes."
She goes on to cite a long list of sexual requests she was forced to deny throughout her professional relationship with Weinstein:
While Hayek's tale is harrowing, she says she's hopeful for the future. She also warns that, until the gender equality gap is narrowed, men like Weinstein will have free rein:
"Until there is equality in our industry, with men and women having the same value in every aspect of it, our community will continue to be a fertile ground for predators," she writes. "I am grateful for everyone who is listening to our experiences. I hope that adding my voice to the chorus of those who are finally speaking out will shed light on why it is so difficult, and why so many of us have waited so long. Men sexually harassed because they could. Women are talking today because, in this new era, we finally can."
On Thursday, Oct. 5, The New York Times published an expose entitled "Harvey Weinstein Paid Off Sexual Harassment Accusers for Decades," revealing Weinstein's abusive behaviors throughout the years.
The piece was the beginning of the end for Weinstein, who is currently being sued by six women.