Well over 50 women at this point have spoken out about sexual abuse, assault, and harassment at the hands of Harvey Weinstein.
But it isn’t over.
First she explained why it’s taken her so long to speak out, saying:
“I had brainwashed myself into thinking that it was over and that I had survived; I hid from the responsibility to speak out with the excuse that enough people were already involved in shining a light on my monster. I didn’t consider my voice important, nor did I think it would make a difference.”
“We are finally becoming conscious of a vice that has been socially accepted and has insulted and humiliated millions of girls like me, for in every woman there is a girl. I am inspired by those who had the courage to speak out, especially in a society that elected a president who has been accused of sexual harassment and assault by more than a dozen women and whom we have all heard make a statement about how a man in power can do anything he wants to women.”
Salma describes how she brought her passion project, the biopic of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, to Harvey because she knew him a bit through her relationship with From Dusk Till Dawn director Robert Rodriguez and his wife:
“All I knew of Harvey at the time was that he had a remarkable intellect, he was a loyal friend and a family man. Knowing what I know now, I wonder if it wasn’t my friendship with them — and Quentin Tarantino and George Clooney — that saved me from being raped.”
Salma says she actually began the process grateful to the man:
“He had taken a chance on me ├óΓé¼ΓÇ¥ a nobody. He had said yes.
Little did I know it would become my turn to say no.
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 ├óΓé¼┬ª”
She kept saying it despite how angry it made him:
“The range of his persuasion tactics went from sweet-talking me to that one time when, in an attack of fury, he said the terrifying words, ‘I will kill you, don’t think I can’t.'”
After she spurned his advances, convincing him she “was not going to earn the movie the way he had expected,” he tried to hit her back in her work, making her jump through ridiculous hoops, all of which she did.
Things didn’t get better though. Just different.
“Ironically, once we started filming, the sexual harassment stopped but the rage escalated…
Halfway through shooting, Harvey turned up on set and complained about Frida’s “unibrow.” He insisted that I eliminate the limp and berated my performance. Then he asked everyone in the room to step out except for me. He told me that the only thing I had going for me was my sex appeal and that there was none of that in this movie. So he told me he was going to shut down the film because no one would want to see me in that role.”
The only way she could keep him from shutting down the film was by agreeing to do a full frontal lesbian scene in the movie.
“I arrived on the set the day we were to shoot the scene that I believed would save the movie. And for the first and last time in my career, I had a nervous breakdown: My body began to shake uncontrollably, my breath was short and I began to cry and cry, unable to stop, as if I were throwing up tears.
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.”
So awful. We had no idea she had been through this. All we say was her wonderful movie.
And for anyone curious why Salma’s career didn’t take off even more after that acclaimed film? One word. Harvey.
“Even though “Frida” eventually won him two Oscars, I still didn’t see any joy. He never offered me a starring role in a movie again. The films that I was obliged to do under my original deal with Miramax were all minor supporting roles.”
Read Salma’s entire story and take on the landscape of sexual harassment HERE.
[Image via Brian To/FayesVision/WENN.]