Salma Hayek: Harvey Weinstein specifically targeted women of color to discredit

71st Annual Cannes Film Festival - 'Kering Women in Motion' - Photocall

Here are some photos of Salma Hayek at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. She was there to attend premieres, walk in the Women’s March, and talk about the need for changes in the industry so that the Harvey Weinsteins of the world would never be able to prey on victims so thoroughly for years. Salma wrote a New York Times essay about Weinstein and what he did to her over the course of years, how he harassed her and bullied her and more. Weinstein actually released a statement directly about Salma’s accusations, just like he did when Lupita Nyong’o told her story about Weinstein. Salma noticed the pattern.

On Sunday at the Cannes Film Festival, Salma Hayek alleged that Harvey Weinstein, who hadn’t responded to other actresses’ claims, denied her and Nyong’o’s accounts because they were both women of color.

“We are the easiest to get discredited,” she told Variety’s Ramin Setoodeh at the Women In Motion panel. “It is a well-known fact. So he went back, attacking the two women of color, in hopes that if he could discredit us.”

Hayek was one of 82 women, led by jury president Cate Blanchett, who protested Cannes’ gender imbalance on Saturday night. The figure symbolized the small fraction of women, 82, who have directed one of the 1,645 films to screen at the festival since 1947. Hayek called the moment profound and beautiful, but warned the industry not to be too complacent.

[From Variety]

True or false: Harvey Weinstein released statements about both Salma and Lupita because they are women of color? Or was it because they are both so powerful and well-respected? I think it’s both – the essay from Lupita was startling because she exists in the zeitgeist as such a beloved fashion-princess and Oscar-winner, and to hear her describe being victimized and harassed by Weinstein brought home the fact that literally NO ONE was safe. Same with Salma Hayek, quite honestly. But yes, I do think Salma is right: Weinstein denied her story and Lupita’s story specifically because of they are women of color.

Salma also called on male stars to take pay cuts so that women can make more. That’s probably not going to happen, but it’s a good jumping-off point for a larger conversation about how we get to equal pay across the board.

71st Annual Cannes Film Festival - 'Kering Women in Motion' - Gala Dinner

71st annual Cannes Film Festival - 'Girls of the Sun' - Premiere

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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55 Responses to “Salma Hayek: Harvey Weinstein specifically targeted women of color to discredit”

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  1. JustJen says:

    She’s right. I didn’t realize it until just now, but you don’t hear him making statements about Uma Thurman, Mira Sorvino or Ashley Judd. He’s such a gross abomination.

    • Nn says:

      Actually, Ashley Judd was the first one he discredited, the media didn’t blow that up though so I can understand why people thought he only went after lupita and salma.
      I agree with Salma that in general people tend to not believe, or want to believe, women of color.

      • Suki says:

        I don’t see where she is going with this, it’s clear Harvey targeted women of all different backgrounds, including white women who were also discredited.

      • jammypants says:

        I guess he was an equal opportunity abuser 😖

  2. Ariana says:

    Salma is not a woman of color. Latinas can be white too, you know. She has the same coloring as George Clooney or Penelope Cruz, are they POC too out of the sudden? I hope Guillermo del Toro doesn’t think he’s a POC only cause he’s Mexican.
    Also, did we forget how she was condescending to a black woman trying to speak her truth?

    • Nev says:

      Oh geez. Salma is of Mexican descent. Are Mexican women not women of colour?

      • Ariana says:

        @Nev, you obviously didn’t read the whole message. please, re-read it.
        Yes, there are POC in Mexico obviously. But not ones that descended from European settlers. Is Guillermo del Toro POC only because he’s Mexican? No, he’s not. Is Antonio Banderas POC only cause he has darker complexion? No, he’s of European descend. NOT all Europeans look like WASPs, there are Southern European nations that have darker skin and complexion and it doesn’t make them POC. Nor does speaking Spanish.

      • teacakes says:

        Mexican AND Arab (Lebanese) descent, if Salma’s own name isn’t enough of a clue.

        What’s next, Frida Kahlo was white and not a WOC too? Why is Salma required to pass a damn paperbag test to say that she is what she is – a brown woman?

      • Marr says:

        Sure, latinas and latinos are white. Just ask any white supremacist and they’ll wholeheartedly agree with you. /s

      • milky says:

        Many Lebanese and Arabs are white. It’s funny to me how people always think “swarthy” when they think of non-European nations!

      • ennie says:

        teacakes, Frida was half european and daughter of a mestiza mother… mestiza just like most Mexicans. PoC or not? just Americans who want to label us that way. Frida was not native looking, but she was not totally european looking, maybe Mediterranean.
        picture of Frida Khalo’s parents

      • jammypants says:

        I think race isn’t the right word. Ethnicity is. You can be “caucasian” but treated like second class citizen based on your cultural or national background. My Pakistani Muslim friend can attest. My half German half Mexican friend can too. I’m Asian so it’s race and ethnicity. I notice for some groups the focus is one or the other or both.

    • Nn says:

      Most Latinos are mestizo.
      White and black Latinos in Mexico are rare. That said, Salma is half Lebanese and half mestizo mexican. In other words, not white.

      Of course we can go deeper into this and it will all lead us into frustration because race is a social construct and more to do with ones looks, as you said, she has the same coloring as George clooney and penelope cruz but phenotype doesn’t equal genotype.

      • Ariana says:

        ok, so she’s half Arab, half white. Amal Clooney or Alexa Chang are more POC than her. All I’m saying that WOC is a label Salma puts on herself only when it’s convenient (while shutting up black women).

      • Nn says:

        Mestizo means mixed with white spaniards and indigenous people native to the land.
        It’s a touchy subject because in America racial classifications have always been fluid and changed throughout history depending on political gains.
        Anyway…Salma is an adult and can identify anyway she wants.
        All I know is, in the real world people treat you based on how you look.
        Cameron Diaz will be treated differently from someone like say Eva Mendez based on looks.

      • ennie says:

        Nn, please define what people in the US call “white”. Is it only 100 european blood descents or people with fair skin and fine features? Because the latter is not that uncommon.

    • Who ARE These People? says:

      To Harvey Weinstein … through HIS eyes … Salma Hayek could be a woman of colour.

    • PPP says:

      I hate the things that she said about Jessica Williams too, but she is not white and is not treated as white– but she does have privilege relative to a black woman, which I think drove her atrocious commentary and dismissiveness towards Williams.

    • Carol Hill says:

      Why are you the POC police? What make you so interested in putting people in their place?

    • MellyMel says:

      She’s not white, therefore she is a POC.

      • Truthful says:

        @Ariana: she is not from southern european regions… she is half mexican half lebanese… so not white… so a WOC.

        I have her same coloring, I am of North African Descent… and I am not white!!
        This distinction seems only relevant in the US where unfortunately some still apparently shamelessly relate to the “paper bag test”.

        Being non white is also how the western world perceive you, and Arabs or Mexicans don’t benefit from the same treatment as white in the USA.

        So no , she is not white and no the exact shade of your skin doesn’t classify that (or some afro-carobeean won’t be classified as WOC either…)

      • milky says:

        For decades American Arabs were classed as white.

      • Truthful says:

        @Milky: oh wow !… You do Know that there is a whole world outside the US do you?
        And you do know that ” Arab”doesn’t mean a thing actually but we speak more of an “arabic rooted culture”… She is Lebanese from an arab speaking country, different than being arab …my family is from an arab speaking country, not an arab.

        And so how do you describe being “arab ” in the US now? white…?

        ps: you don’t have to define the ancestry and self-description than anybody else than you
        PS2: it baffles me when people try to explain to me the different shades of my own culture… amazing…not

    • Lara says:

      I am rally curious, is there an exact definition of POC? I always thought if a person has non european descend and identifies as POC that´s it.
      Or do you have to be visibly darker?
      Is it more about the cultural background or about discrimination due to skin colour?

      • Tanya says:

        @Lara, plenty of POC have European descent, and no, you don’t have to be visibly darker. For instance, Megan Merkle’s a woman of color. Cultural background and grouping can determine. But, pretty much, if you’re a white woman and not passing yourself off as white, you’re not a person of color.

      • Truthful says:

        @Tanya: thank you so much for your articulate and intelligent comment!

    • Beatrix says:

      @Ariana You’re talking about “passing privilege” which is a different topic almost all-together.

    • BorderMollie says:

      She’s of Lebanese and Indigenous heritage, of course she’s not white. She can be a POC, treated as lesser in that capacity, and yet still have relative privilege over black people as well as other groups. It’s not always so simple as A or B.

      Also Weinstein was hugely racist against Arab people in the past, so likely her heritage played a role in how he treated her.

  3. Lucy2 says:

    He’s denied the accusations by Ashley Judd, Uma Thurman, and Rose McGowan also, but he was definitely more direct in how he denied Lupita and Salma, and I think Salma’s correct as to why. Considering he’s a horrific, abusive, serial rapist, I’m not at all surprised to add racist to that list.

    • otaku fairy says:

      I think she’s right too. Even though he went after Ashley Judd and some of the others, it probably isn’t a coincidence that the two victims who were WOC were discredited by him.

  4. Neelyo says:

    She’s right and I would go further and say he targeted those he perceived to be vulnerable. The only white woman he publicly refuted was Ashley Judd, citing her mental state or some other nonsense.

  5. Cher says:

    Salma, uses her ethnicity when it is convenient for her.

    • Ariana says:

      haha, exactly. Plus, she’s white. Not all Latinas are POC. Having an accent doesn’t make you a POC

      • teacakes says:

        Sorry honey but if Salma is “white”, she’s the brownest “white woman” I’ve ever seen (not counting ones who fake tan themselves to pass as ‘ambiguously ethnic’ now that that look is trendy). And this claim that being part Arab doesn’t make her a WOC makes absolutely no sense to me, especially since she’s not even some Gigi Hadid white-passing person. She’s no Salma Dolezal here.

        /signed, a brown woman.

      • VirgiliaCoriolanus says:

        I’m a white passing POC with dreadlocs and I honestly find most of these comments offensive. Unless someone can point out Salma downplaying her heritage/ethnicity….do people really think that HW at large sees her as anything other than a (light) brown skinned actress? It matters when you are from south of the border unless you are like Gisele and have (narrowly defined) European features and the body type ie Gisele vs Sofia Vergara.

        Even “white passing” POC are POC….and some previous comments on this subject on this site make it seem like we’re supposed to decide who won the oppression Olympics. …we’re all “other” and while discrimination affects us on different levels and in different ways, we all face it. That should be acknowledged more than saying a light skinned actress isn’t allowed to point out what we all know bc she’s light skinned, comes from money, and built her career on the “sexy” roles offered to her.

      • Betsy says:

        From a lot of white people’s perspective, it most definitely does. ESL = not white.

      • ennie says:

        I think she is the same skin tone as Penelope, and probably the same ethnic composition.

      • Truthful says:

        Man, that starts to sound like an obsession…

        @ennie: you should travel more .

      • Truthful says:

        @teacakes: Bravo!

        Another brown woman

    • ennie says:

      I am a “white looking” mestizo woman, fair sallow skin, green eyes, tall an medium brown hair. I am not white for some people who lean racist I have been asked if I am Italian or Greek, just to be sneered at when they hear I am Mexican . I have been in that situation. Maybe she is referring to how some people sees her.

  6. Nicole says:

    No kidding a lot of predators choose victims of color because hello America is racist af. They know it’s their (white) word against theirs. Please look at how Lupita’s story is the one he denied (one of the very few) and immediately.
    Which is why Times Up being largely fronted by white women makes me side eye it all day.
    Also was it Selma Hayek that talked over Jessica Williams at that LA times round table when she tried to bring up race? Because if so then I side eye her too.

    • Reef says:

      It was and I side-eyed her too, until her essay regarding Harvey came out. It brought a lot of Hayek’s talking points to Jessica into perspective for me. She was still rude but I understand her more now. Women of a certain age have dealt with such awful things once considered normal or just regular obstacles, that their perception is skewed.

      • Nicole says:

        Agreed the trauma there makes it different but the outright dismissal makes me angry. Not ready to cape for Selma yet.
        Agree with her points though

    • lucy2 says:

      The Jessica Williams (I really love her) thing made me so mad. Yes, Salma has been through it and has experience to share, but it’s also so important to listen to others and acknowledge their experiences too, even if they are younger or just starting out.

    • Wilma says:

      I re-read the transcript of that discussion between Salma and Jessica last week. Still really awful. It was such a mean thing to do, to shut down Jessica like that, in such a belittling way, knowing that Jessica probably would not want to raise her voice considering the stereotypes.

  7. GD says:

    How do you do when for example one is famous and the other one is an unknown actor, should they both receive same amount of money or the famous one more?

    • NameChange says:

      There has to be a scale of some sort, but if you’re doing equal work (equal screen time, same number of lines, etc.), you should get equal pay. Obviously, there has to be some concession for someone who is a box office draw versus someone who isn’t, but the current system is ridiculous in its inequality.

  8. Merritt says:

    People do go out of their way to discredit WOC. Just look at Lena Dunham. She tried to discredit Aurora Perrineau.

    • teacakes says:


      Luna Dunham and her dull self-obsession and hipster racism should have had their day long, long ago.

  9. Maya says:

    I have a theory though – men like him and Trump fear women of colour. Women of colour tend to be stronger against white men then white women. Trump’s election is evidence of how many white women supported him.

    More importantly, racists don’t want their fellow racists thinking that they “touched” someone of colour.

    • Nn says:

      Honestly, most WOC are not thinking about “fighting the power” or how to take down the white man.
      They’re simply living their lives and would prefer to do so in peace.
      I also don’t see how they could fear, not only a minority, but a largely powerless minority.
      I guess twitter warriors represents all of us but they don’t. They’re a loud minority.
      And if by convincing racists you mean white women like his wife, then yes he wouldn’t want her to think he could ever be attracted to someone who looks the opposite of her.
      He needs to reassure her that she is his only type because if history has shown us anything, it is that racists have no problem “touching” WOC.

    • Lexter says:

      @ your first theory, a big “huh???”

      • Barnes says:

        The theory that he went after Lupita and Salma Hayek because they’re powerful and well-respected? That also really confused me. Then why didn’t he go after the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, Lea Seydoux?

  10. Valerie says:

    I hate him.

  11. Michele says:

    The only one who didn’t really go into details about Weinstein, Was Angelina. Read in her biography though, that a producer trapped her in a hotel room & she stabbed him in the leg/foot with her butterfly knife. Now we know that was Weinstein. I think all these women have had enough of being treated like this by men & the whole industry. Whether race is one of the reasons he chose to discredit them? Highly Probable! Respect all the women & men who have come forward & want to put an end to the abuse of power & to stop these predators, that unfortunately….. are in Every Industry!!! Society needs to have a hard look at gender equality & literally make those changes. Not just talking about change!!!