When Salma Hayek shared that Harvey Weinstein was her "monster too" in an op-ed for the New York Times last week, she shook us to our core. The details she shared of the abuse she endured from Weinstein — who allegedly went as far as threatening to kill her — were infuriating, and now his response to her claims has angered us even more.
But Hayek clapped back in the classiest way on Instagram using a photo she took with Lupita Nyong’o — one of his other accusers — that exposed a gross patterns in his denials that you may have missed.
Before Hayek came forward with her Weinstein story, Nyong'o wrote an op-ed for the New York Times where she described her own disturbing experience with Weinstein while she was still a student at the Yale School of Drama.
In the essay, the actress shared that she was invited to a private screening of a movie in Weinstein's home. According to Nyong'o, after getting lunch at a restaurant where he tried to bully her into drinking alcohol, they went to his home, where Weinstein ended up leading her to his bedroom and asking if he could give her a massage. A panicked Nyong'o reacted by offering to give him a massage instead so that she could remain somewhat in control of the scary situation, and then finally left when Weinstein tried to take off his pants.
The executive would later proposition her again at a restaurant, where she assumed she would be dining with a group of people, but was instead stuck alone with him. The actress was able to get away once again after turning him down.
After Nyong'o's story broke, Weinstein's camp denied her claims in a statement that read a lot differently than his response to the original exposés of his history of abuse.
“Mr. Weinstein has a different recollection of the events, but believes Lupita is a brilliant actress and a major force for the industry," a representative said. "Last year, she sent a personal invitation to Mr. Weinstein to see her in her Broadway show Eclipsed.”
This very specific denial was a direct slap in Nyong'o's face, one that burned extra hard when you consider that the original exposés in the New York Times and The New Yorker, which included accusations of sexual misconduct from actresses like Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie, were simply met with a blanket denial from a representative.
"Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein," was his original statement — but there was no attempt to discredit anyone's story or single anyone out by name.
The same can be said of Weinstein's bizarre response to Hayek's account, where she claimed he sexually harassed her and used his power to make the production of "Frida" a living nightmare, even forcing her to add a sex scene with another woman.
Weintstein's statement to USA Today begins by calling Hayek a "first-class actress" and then randomly drags Jennifer Lopez into the drama by saying that even though the entertainer "was interested in playing 'Frida' and at the time was a bigger star, Mr. Weinstein overruled other investors to back Salma as the lead."
He denied having anything to do with the sex scene Hayek claimed she felt forced to do, saying, "he was not there for the filming." And he also flat out denied all of her sexual harassment claims by saying, "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."
So Hayek responded with an Instagram post of her and Nyong'o captioned, "When they go low, Lupita and I go high. Cuando ellos caen bajo Lupita y yo vamos alto. @lupitanyongo #girlpower #metoo #coluor."
While Weinstein has in fact spoken out against some of his white accusers, the idea that there's a difference in his responses to women of color isn't unfounded. The Atlantic has pointed out a noticeable change in strategy where his team is picking and choosing who they address in a statement and the language they choose to use.
Source: The Atlantic
Instead of the aggressive denial that occurred when the first stories came out, he now (40-some accusers later) simply remembers things differently and is even complimentary to the accusers. He then makes pointed attempts to discredit their version of events, with details like Nyong'o inviting him to a show or insisting that others present deny Hayek's account.
It's maddening, and exactly why so many women, particularly those of color, are afraid to speak out. When all you have is your word against theirs, the prospect of fighting a powerful white man can be overwhelming and defeating.
This makes Hayek's and Nyongo's choices to put their careers on the line and speak out even more valuable. We hope that the women who have been victimized by Weinstein are ultimately vindicated when the investigations into his past are completed.