Late Wednesday, Harvey Weinstein countered major points of Salma Hayek's New York Times column alleging sexual harassment during the production of their movie “Frida.”
Hayek is the latest Hollywood star to come forward with allegations of sexual harassment against fallen movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.
In a guest column for the Times on Wednesday, the actress claims she said no to a list of unwanted advances from the producer when they worked together on the 2002 film “Frida.”
"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," she writes.
She also claims the producer once threatened to kill her following one of her refusals, and verbally insulted her on set.
Weinstein released a statement to USA Today via spokeswoman Holly Baird saying "all of the sexual allegations as portrayed by Salma are not accurate and others who witnessed the events have a different account of what transpired."
In the article, Hayek describes her excitement when she first signed a deal with Weinstein for the project, a biopic of the Mexican painter Frida Kahlo — but also recounts her efforts to get herself and her film out of his company.
"I had to resort to using lawyers, not by pursuing a sexual harassment case, but by claiming 'bad faith,' as I had worked so hard on a movie that he was not intending to make or sell back to me," she writes.
She claims Weinstein gave her a list of "impossible tasks with a tight deadline" in order to "clear himself legally," but was able to meet his demands.
Once filming began, she claims the sexual harassment stopped but the rage escalated and demands continued.
"He would let me finish the film if I agreed to do a sex scene with another woman," she writes. "And he demanded full-frontal nudity."
Hayek says she gave in to his request, but struggled to film the scene.
"My body began to shake uncontrollably, my breath was short and I began to cry and cry," she writes. "It was not because I would be naked with another woman. It was because I would be naked with her for Harvey Weinstein ... I had to take a tranquilizer, which eventually stopped the crying but made the vomiting worse."
In his statement, Weinstein said he "did not recall pressuring Salma to do a gratuitous sex scene with a female costar and he was not there for the filming. However, that was part of the story, as Frida Kahlo was bisexual and the more significant sex scene in the movie was choreographed by Ms. Hayek with Geoffrey Rush."
Hayek also says she wonders if her friendship with Quentin Tarantino and George Clooney had "saved (her) from being raped."
In the article, Hayek also explains why it took her this long to come forward.
"I hid from the responsibility to speak out with the excuse that enough people were already involved in shining a light on my monster," she wrote. "In reality, I was trying to save myself the challenge of explaining several things to my loved ones."
Here is Weinstein's response in full:
Mr. Weinstein regards Salma Hayek as a first-class actress and cast her in several of his movies, among them “Once Upon a Time in Mexico,” “Dogma,” and “Studio 54.” He was very proud of her Best Actress Academy Award nomination for “Frida” and continues to support her work.
While Jennifer Lopez was interested in playing Frida and at the time was a bigger star, Mr. Weinstein overruled other investors to back Salma as the lead. Miramax put up half of the money and all of the P&A; the budget was over 12 million. As in most collaborative projects, there was creative friction on “Frida,” but it served to drive the project to perfection. The movie opened in multiple theaters and was supported by a huge advertising campaign and an enormous Academy Awards budget.
Mr. Weinstein does not recall pressuring Salma to do a gratuitous sex scene with a female costar and he was not there for the filming. However, that was part of the story, as Frida Kahlo was bisexual and the more significant sex scene in the movie was choreographed by Ms. Hayek with Geoffrey Rush. The original uni-brow used was an issue because it diverted attention from the performances. All of the sexual allegations as portrayed by Salma are not accurate and others who witnessed the events have a different account of what transpired.
Ed Norton, who was Ms. Hayek’s boyfriend at the time, (worked with Mr. Weinstein on the rewrite of the script in Mexico) did a brilliant job of rewriting the script and Mr. Weinstein battled the WGA to get him a credit on the film. His effort was unsuccessful to everyone’s disappointment.
By Mr. Weinstein’s own admission, his boorish behavior following a screening of “Frida” was prompted by his disappointment in the cut of the movie — and a reason he took a firm hand in the final edit, alongside the very skilled director Julie Taymor.