Salma Hayek speaks out
Yesterday, the NYT published an op ed in which Salma Hayek added her name to the ever-growing list of women who have accused Harvey Weinstein of attempting to coerce them into sex and other intimacies. It’s a difficult read — alongside the now-familiar catalog of Weinstein’s abusive behavior, Hayak vividly describes the day that she had to be sedated to make it through filming a full-frontal nude scene Weinstein had forced her to add under threat of killing her passion project, Frida.
Since those around me had no knowledge of my history of Harvey, they were very surprised by my struggle that morning. It was not because I would be naked with another woman. It was because I would be naked with her for Harvey Weinstein. But I could not tell them then.
My mind understood that I had to do it, but my body wouldn’t stop crying and convulsing. At that point, I started throwing up while a set frozen still waited to shoot. I had to take a tranquilizer, which eventually stopped the crying but made the vomiting worse. As you can imagine, this was not sexy, but it was the only way I could get through the scene.
I’m really glad that Hayek felt the courage to come forward with this. Like Lupita Nyong’o and others who’ve spoken publicly about Weinstein’s abuse, Hayek describes the fear and the feelings of powerlessness that he inspired (many of those Weinstein preyed on are still afraid to publicly identify themselves, for fear of reprisal). Hayek also writes about why she didn’t speak out sooner, and why so many women do not feel that they will be heard, whether personally or artistically. “The statistics are self-explanatory—our voices are not welcome.”
I’m glad that Hayek found the courage to add her voice to the chorus of those who’ve lifted theirs to tell the truth about a man’s monstrous behavior. But reading about Weinstein’s attempts to bully, silence, and belittle Hayek, I can’t help but think of the beginning of this year, when Hayek and Shirley MacLaine informed Jessica Williams that she should stop playing the victim and think her way out of racism. Having found the courage to tell her story, has Hayek also found the courage to listen while other women tell theirs?
Having found the strength to break her silence and tell the truth, does Hayek question the ease with which she publicly dismissed another woman for exhibiting “the courage to express herself while disregarding skepticism” that she so admired in Frida Kahlo? Is that courage allowed to other women? Which ones?
Hayek writes of losing her composure and reconsidering her cordiality to a man she now rightly and bravely calls a monster.
Is it ok to be angry now?
(crossposted at Medium)