Salma Hayek wishes she had come forward sooner.
The 51-year-old actress wrote about what she says she experienced with Harvey Weinstein in a December op-ed for The New York Times, joining the multitude of women accusing him of sexual misconduct months earlier. In a sit-down interview with Oprah Winfrey for the media mogul’s “Super Soul Conversations” special on Wednesday, Hayek revealed that she was approached to be a part of the Times’ first expose on Weinstein, but turned it down.
“They contacted me to be a part of the first story, The New York Times… already I started crying when they asked, and I ended up not doing it,” Hayek shared. “I started crying because [I had PTSD].”
“Then I felt ashamed… I was supporting women for two decades and then I was a coward,” she continued. “I was pretending everything was OK, so I had been around Harvey and acting like everything was OK.”
In that op-ed for the Times, Hayek alleged she was sexually harassed and berated by Harvey Weinstein for years while she tried to get her 2002 movie, “Frida”, made. In a statement to ET at the time, Weinstein denied her allegations of sexual harassment, saying in part: “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.”
“Throughout the years, I [earned his respect],” Hayek said on Wednesday. “I earned it with blood.”
“He never raped me [but the harassment] was not one or two occasions. It was five years… He told me, ‘I’m going to kill you,'” she continued.
Hayek admitted to Winfrey that it took her months to write the essay, saying, “I cried every time I would pick up the pen. It took me a while [after the Times called]. I went, ‘Yes, no, yes, no, yes, no. OK, I’m going to do it. No, I’m not going to do it. Nobody cares about what I have to say, already other people said it.’ That’s the other thing, that was the next step. And finally, I said it, because there was something I felt nobody had talked about which was it was not only the abuse, the sexual harassment, it’s the undermining. The abuse of being constantly undermined because we’re women. And this was important too, because it’s so painful.”
She also revealed additional alleged details from her time dealing with Weinstein that she hadn’t previously written about, including claiming that Weinstein had told “Frida” director Julie Taymor, “I am going to break the kneecaps of that c-word.”
“I don’t want to get into the details… because we have more important things to talk about… but I was depressed,” Hayek noted. “I was paranoid. I lived in fear. I tried to get out. I couldn’t get out.”
Hayek went on to admit that her good friend, Penelope Cruz, was “furious at me because I never told her anything.”
“I didn’t know there was so many women. I thought I was the only one. When it came out, then I was ashamed that I didn’t speak up,” she expressed. “And then when so the women came out… I felt like my pain was so small because there were so many others that had the same pain, but for me, it was so big.”
“There is a moment, and I feel like it’s human, where I was like, there’s no point for me to talk because it just happens to everyone, and then I felt that by itself, it was just my own little drama. But when we come together, put the drama aside, and unite with each other, then it’s not about drama, it’s not about pain. It’s about evolution,” Hayek continued of why she decided to write her op-ed. “It’s about becoming part of something that moves powerfully and that can make this big change happen.”
The “Beatriz at Dinner” star said she has experienced harassment since she was “very little” and that not all of her assaulters were in Hollywood. “I had struggled with assault before I was famous… and I’ve had this problem since I was very little,” she admitted.
Part of her fear of coming out also came from inner demons she was forced to struggle with due to harassment, among other issues.
“You have to keep your principles. I struggle with depression also… and the depression doesn’t make you want to do anything,” she said. “I had to struggle with that demon, too, because you feel so small. You feel so small when somebody is on top of you the whole time and you are powerless. You feel so small, and I was going through something so big that nobody believed it on top of all of the feelings… Because the abusive behaviour is the first thing they do [to] destroy your confidence.”
Hayek concluded her in-depth conversation with Winfrey by declaring that the Time’s Up movement “is not going to be a moment.”
“We have to stop apologizing for being attacked,” she said. “I think that sometimes we underestimate our efforts… and the power that it has for change.”
She added, “All these efforts of every single one of you, they pile up until there is an explosion.”
ET has reached out to Weinstein’s rep for comment.
Oprah at the Apollo will air on Feb. 27 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network and will be available via podcast at Oprah’s “Super Soul Conversations”.