Actor and producer Salma Hayek has penned an op-ed in the New York Times Wednesday, that should be read by anyone who has any “misunderstanding” of how someone who has been abused and bullied by a powerful person can find themselves smiling and exchanging pleasantries with a monster. Explaining that she has been thinking about her relationship to Harvey Weinstein over the past few weeks and confronting her own rationalizations over the past decades, Hayek explains this op-ed is for the people who know her best, as much as it is for herself.
In reality, I was trying to save myself the challenge of explaining several things to my loved ones: Why, when I had casually mentioned that I had been bullied like many others by Harvey, I had excluded a couple of details. And why, for so many years, we have been cordial to a man who hurt me so deeply. I had been proud of my capacity for forgiveness, but the mere fact that I was ashamed to describe the details of what I had forgiven made me wonder if that chapter of my life had really been resolved.
Harvey Weinstein was the first most powerful figure in Hayek’s life to give her a chance to make her passion project—2002’s Frida, the bio-film about legendary Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. Hayek had had some success in American cinema, getting roles in popular new filmmakers Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez’s films. After telling her he would help fund and and get her movie made, after creating a deal with Hayek where she would be paid scale (film’s minimum wage), only then did he begin harassing and forcing her to say “no” again and again.