Harvey Weinstein issued a statement Wednesday responding to Salma Hayek’s recent New York Times op-ed, in which the actress accused the now-disgraced film producer of repeatedly sexually propositioning her and even threatening to kill her during the production of the Oscar-nominated film Frida.
Hayek wrote Wednesday that Weinstein repeatedly engaged in sexually inappropriate behavior with her, including asking to watch her shower, and also forced her to film a lesbian sex scene for Frida, her lifelong passion project that was being produced by Miramax.
“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,” a spokesperson for Weinstein said in the statement.
The statement also claims Weinstein lobbied for Hayek to keep the role after Jennifer Lopez expressed interest in playing it.
“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,” the rep said.
Hayek wrote Wednesday that she had been thrilled to bring her Frida Kahlo biopic to Weinstein’s Miramax at the time, and thought the movie mogul would be the perfect fit for the project.
“Little did I know it would become my turn to say no,” she wrote.
“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.
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 …”
The actress also claimed Weinstein once told her, “I will kill you, don’t think I can’t.”
Weinstein reportedly remains in Arizona, where he had sought treatment at a rehabilitation facility. The producer has been accused of sexual assault and harassment by dozens of women, including several A-list actresses, and by at least ten women of rape. Weinstein has denied all allegations of non-consensual sex.
Read Weinstein’s full statement below:
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.
Follow Daniel Nussbaum on Twitter: @dznussbaum