Salma Hayek is sharing more about how her 2017 New York Times op-ed detailing her experience with Harvey Weinstein upset friends she hadn’t confided in, including fellow actress Penélope Cruz.
Speaking to the Sunday Times, the 54-year-old star explained why she’d previously stayed mum about the sexual harassment, including bullying and requests to perform sexual acts, that Weinstein subjected her to during the filming of 2002’s Frida. Weinstein is currently serving a 23-year prison sentence in New York after being found guilty last year of criminal sexual act in the first degree and rape in the third degree.
Hayek, who starred alongside Cruz in the 2006 film Bandidos, says she was “protecting” her close friend.
“Some people were very angry at me, like Penélope [Cruz], but I was protecting her,” Hayek, who earned an Oscar nomination for her role in the Frida Kahlo biopic, told the U.K. newspaper. “I kept my eye on their interaction and he never went for her. They [Miramax] were making the best movies. She didn’t have my problem, and if I told her it would have affected her choices of things that would have been good for her career.”
Weinstein produced Cruz’s 2009 film Nine, and his production companies have been involved in other films starring the Spanish actress, including Vicky Cristina Barcelona, for which she won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.
Hayek has previously shared that she hadn’t told Cruz — who was “really angry” with her — because “I didn’t realize Harvey was doing it to other people, too, so I thought, ‘Why dump your stuff on someone and take away from their professional relationship with him?’ At that time Harvey was doing the best movies.”
The Hitman’s Bodyguard’s Wife star told the Sunday Times that the revelations about Weinstein deeply affected her.
“Suddenly the trauma came back,” she said, becoming emotional. “I had thought that it was completely healed, but it was just hiding. It came back, out of nowhere, and it took me a long time to understand how I had to be with it.”
Of her 2017 op-ed she added, “Before I wrote the piece I thought I had survived that brilliantly and it was done with. To the point that I could see him and smile and pretend that everything was OK. I had held my own, I was really strong. He even said that me and Julie Taymor [Frida’s director] were the biggest ball-busters he has ever encountered. I took that as a compliment.
“He didn’t get what he wanted from me and I made the film that was so important, so meaningful to me, to my kind, and when I say my kind I don’t just mean Mexicans, I mean to my kind of woman. Frida is a woman who said, I am not a woman who is going to be like anyone else, I am going to fight for my individuality.”
She’s now determined to take more ownership of her work in Hollywood. In addition to her production company, which famously launched the TV series Ugly Betty, Hayek has written a screenplay which she plans to direct.
“This problem, it’s not only about sexual harassment, it is about sexism, the constant undermining, and the desperation to please and prove ourselves,” she shared. “So I was like, no way, I am going to change it because, look, I am a lot more than what you see.”