In 2002, Salma Hayek starred in “Frida,” a biopic distributed by Miramax. More than 15 years later, the Academy Award-nominated actress revealed that she, too, was sexually harassed by Miramax co-founder Harvey Weinstein.
“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,” Hayek wrote in New York Times. “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.”
In October, the publication reported that several women had accused Weinstein of engaging in rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment. Many other women followed suit and several powerful men around the world have been ousted from their positions because of the same accusations.
Weinstein was ousted from The Weinstein Company on Oct. 8. More than a decade before this, Hayek approached Weinstein at the time and was very happy that he agreed to produce the “Frida” through Miramax.
According to Hayek, she managed to refuse Weinstein’s inappropriate demands and tried to get “Frida” out Miramax, which infuriated the movie mogul. She said he gave her a list of impossible tasks with a tight deadline, such as getting a rewrite of the “Frida” script without additional payment, raising $10 million to finance the film, attaching an A-list director and casting four of the smaller roles with prominent actors.
Hayek was able to accomplish those tasks. She narrated that she recruited Edward Norton, Antonio Banderas, Ashley Judd and Geoffrey Rush to be in the “Frida” cast, her friend Margaret Perenchio put up the money, Norton rewrote the script and Julie Taymor agreed to direct.
But Weinstein’s inappropriate demands allegedly did not stop. He demanded full-frontal nudity and would let Hayek finish “Frida” if she agreed to do a sex scene with another woman, according to the actress.
Although Hayek found it senseless, she agreed to do the scene but not without a struggle. She ended up earning an Academy Award nomination for her portrayal of the title role, the surrealist Mexican painter Frida Kahlo.
Rush, Judd, Banderas and Norton played Leon Trotsky, Tina Modotti, David Alfaro Siqueiros and Nelson Rockefeller in “Frida,” respectively. Also in the cast were Mia Maestro as Cristina Kahlo, Alfred Molina as Diego Rivera, Valeria Golino as Lupe Marin, Roger Rees as Guillermo Kahlo and Diego Luna as Alejandro Alex.
“Frida” won Academy Awards for Best Original Score and Best Makeup and did well at the box office. Years after making the film, Hayek would run into Weinstein at events and while telling herself that she went to war and won, she would smile and try to remember the good things about him.
“Men sexually harassed because they could,” Hayek concluded. “Women are talking today because, in this new era, we finally can.”