Salma Hayek says that she still faces racism in Hollywood

Ben Arnold
Contributor
Salma Hayek (Credit: Getty Images)

Reaching a certain level of fame and notoriety does not preclude you from racism, Salma Hayek has said.

The Mexican-born, Oscar-nominated star of movies like From Dusk Till Dawn and Frida, was asked if she’d ever been the subject of ‘incidents of overt racism’, to which she replied ‘millions’.

“A lot of people are very shocked that I married who I married,” she told Town and Country magazine.

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She wed the French billionaire François-Henri Pinault, the CEO of Kering, the retail giant behind super-brands like Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent, Balenciaga and Alexander McQueen.

“And some people are even intimidated now by me. But it’s another way of showing racism. They can’t believe this Mexican ended up in the life that she has, and they’re uncomfortable around me.”

Hayek and husband François-Henri Pinault (Credit: DPA)

She added that thanks to the sea change in Hollywood, the major studio players are ‘scared sh*tless, they are terrified to say the wrong thing now, but you can still notice it’.

She also spoke about her past experiences with the producer Harvey Weinstein.

In 2017, as the allegations of misconduct were mounting around the movie mogul, she wrote in an op-ed column in the New York Times that he had at one time threatened to kill her after she snubbed his sexual advances on multiple occasions.

She also called him ‘a monster’.

Salma Hayek Pinault attends the Gucci show at Milan Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2019/20 on February 20, 2019 in Milan, Italy. (Credit: Jacopo Raule/Getty Images)

“Emotionally, I was shocked by how much [writing that piece] affected me,” Hayek says.

“Because I’m strong, and I thought I was done with that whole story. It really haunted me.”

She added that her husband, along with friends of hers, were angry that she had not told them about Weinstein’s behaviour towards her before.

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Yes, absolutely,” she says. “[Pinault] was upset that I didn’t tell him before. So were Antonio Banderas and Penélope Cruz, who’s a very good friend of mine. She was furious.”

“Because he did the best movies, and I didn’t want to jade their experience professionally,” she says of why she didn’t tell them.

“I was being protective of my friends. But I didn’t know he was doing it to so many women. I had no idea.”