Harvey Weinstein strongly denies Salma Hayek sexual abuse claims

In a lengthy, strongly worded statement released Wednesday evening, disgraced movie producer Harvey Weinstein‘s spokesperson painted actor Salma Hayek‘s sexual harassment claims as “not accurate.”

On Wednesday, Hayek penned a harrowing, heartbreaking op-ed for the New York Times detailing how her career has been impacted by Weinstein. Among the allegations in her stark essay: Weinstein sexually propositioning her on multiple occasions, forcing her to do a sex scene with a woman, and even threatening to kill her.

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She wrote that Weinstein was omnipresent in her acting career from the start, and says it took her so long to speak out because she didn’t realize how important her voice would be in the current conversation. Over 100 women have come out with stories alleging Weinstein sexually harassed or assaulted them over the past several decades, and in some cases the purported victims have filed lawsuits against him, Miramax and The Weinstein Company.

Weinstein, through a representative, has denied all accusations of non-consensual sex, and in this latest statement, denies Hayek’s claims of sexual misconduct and says he “doesn’t recall” forcing her to do the sex scene with Frida co-star Ashley Judd.

“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,” reads the statement.

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Much of Hayek’s early relationship with Weinstein began while he was helping produce her passion project, 2002 movie Frida. The film, about Mexican painter Frida Kahlo de Rivera, was very special to Hayek, and she had spent years developing and researching it.

Below is the statement, 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, 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.

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Hayek concluded her piece by calling for more gender parity in Hollywood, and cited some damning numbers; she said that between 2007 and 2016, only four per cent of directors were female and 80 per cent of those women only made one film. Until women get power when it comes to filmmaking and production, the imbalance will continue to exist.

“Until there is equality in our industry, with men and women having the same value in every aspect of it, our community will continue to be a fertile ground for predators,” she wrote. “I am grateful for everyone who is listening to our experiences. I hope that adding my voice to the chorus of those who are finally speaking out will shed light on why it is so difficult, and why so many of us have waited so long. Men sexually harassed because they could. Women are talking today because, in this new era, we finally can.”

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Hayek has not yet responded to Weinstein’s denial.

Weinstein is no longer employed by The Weinstein Company, though he plans to challenge his firing. His exact whereabouts are unknown.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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