Remember that the avalanche of unmasked sex monsters over the past few months began with the sexual harassment accusations against Harvey Weinstein.
That turned out to be only the tip of the nightmare iceberg. In the entertainment industry, and even specifically with Harvey Weinstein, whose list of accusers continues to grow.
Salma Hayek posted a lengthy description of the nightmare that Weinstein put her through, and she named the one thing that she believes saved her from being raped.
Writing a lengthy essay in the New York Times, Salma Hayek first reveals why she waited so long — even after Harvey Weinstein was exposed — to tell her story.
“When so many women came forward to describe what Harvey had done to them, I had to confront my cowardice and humbly accept that my story, as important as it was to me, was nothing but a drop in an ocean of sorrow and confusion.”
It is not uncommon for people who’ve been through awful experiences, like those that she’s going to describe, to try to minimize them.
Just because someone else had it worse doesn’t mean that what happened to you was okay.
“I felt that by now nobody would care about my pain — maybe this was an effect of the many times I was told, especially by Harvey, that I was nobody.”
We’re crushed that she feels that way.
We’ll go ahead and point out that many people, after reading Salma Hayek’s words, mirror Uma Thurman’s feelings on Harvey Weinstein.
“I am inspired by those who had the courage to speak out, especially in a society that elected a president who has been accused of sexual harassment and assault by more than a dozen women and whom we have all heard make a statement about how a man in power can do anything he wants to women.”
Trump has bragged about his wrongdoings and his apparent immunity from justice more than once. It takes a brave person to speak out when it’s so clear that monsters can get away with almost anything.
But Salma Hayek is no longer remaining silent.
Salma refers to director Robert Rodriguez and producer Elizabeth Avellan, and makes a chilling statement about how they may have, unwittingly, protected her from facing the worst that Weinstein had to offer.
“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.”
But she says that, at first, she was delighted to work for the mega-producer.
“He had taken a chance on me — a nobody. He had said yes. Little did I know it would become my turn to say no.”
Long before filming began, Salma had to start turning him down.
“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.”
Gross, creepy, and stalkery.
“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.”
Those sound very hauntingly familiar from the first harassment allegations against Weinstein.
“And with every refusal came Harvey’s Machiavellian rage.”
“I don’t think he hated anything more than the word ‘no.'”
“The absurdity of his demands went from getting a furious call in the middle of the night asking me to fire my agent for a fight he was having with him about a different movie with a different client …”
That sounds like an over-the-top power move.
“… To physically dragging me out of the opening gala of the Venice Film Festival, which was in honor of “Frida,” so I could hang out at his private party with him and some women I thought were models but I was told later were high-priced prostitutes.”
Though there’s nothing wrong with sex workers, there’s everything wrong with manhandling an actress and forcing her to go along with you.
“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.'”
Please don’t ever, ever ask someone why they didn’t speak up. At this point, after all that we’ve heard, it’s a stupid question as well as a hurtful one.
It was, she says, after he realized that she was not going to have sex with him that Harvey Weinstein tried to take the film out from under her.
She had to sue him — and not for sexual harassment — and then perform multiple minor miracles (including recruiting multiple big-name actors) in order to strongarm Weinstein into letting her go through with the film.
But her fight was only beginning.
“Ironically, once we started filming, the sexual harassment stopped but the rage escalated. We paid the price for standing up to him nearly every day of shooting.”
And yes, Salma Hayek does describe the ways in which Weinstein exacted revenge for her defiance.
“Halfway through shooting, Harvey turned up on set and complained about Frida’s ‘unibrow.'”
Minor point — Frida Kahlo’s unibrow is iconic. The film would have been worse off without it.
“He insisted that I eliminate the limp and berated my performance. Then he asked everyone in the room to step out except for me.”
“He told me that the only thing I had going for me was my sex appeal and that there was none of that in this movie. So he told me he was going to shut down the film because no one would want to see me in that role.”
What a disgusting creep.
“It was soul crushing because, I confess, lost in the fog of a sort of Stockholm syndrome, I wanted him to see me as an artist: not only as a capable actress but also as somebody who could identify a compelling story and had the vision to tell it in an original way.”
It’s not uncommon to want approval, no matter how poorly you’re treated. You see that kind of thing from abused children all of the time, and it’s not surprising coming from this kind of nightmarish workplace environment.
“I arrived on the set the day we were to shoot the scene that I believed would save the movie. And for the first and last time in my career, I had a nervous breakdown.”
“It was not because I would be naked with another woman. It was because I would be naked with her for Harvey Weinstein.”
Frida, of course, went on to be critically acclaimed and award-winning.
it seems clear now that this was despite Weinstein’s attempts at petty sabotage, rather than because of some “irreplaceable genius” that he allegedly possessed.
Salma Hayek summarizes the changing circumstances that finally allow women to speak up against powerful men:
“Men sexually harassed because they could. Women are talking today because, in this new era, we finally can.”