Jessica Chastain Praises Salma Hayek for Speaking Out Against Harvey Weinstein
After retweeting the actress’s op-ed in the New York Times, in which Hayek detailed alleged harassment by the producer, Chastain told Extra she found the piece to be “so moving.” She added, “It really goes to show its so important what is happening right now with all these women coming forward and talking about their stories and talking about the walls that they faced in their industry.”
In the article published Wednesday, Hayek, 51, recounted her alleged experiences with Weinstein through the course of the making of the 2002 Miramax Frida Kahlo biopic Frida — claiming, among other things, that he had once threatened to kill her when she refused his advances.
“What I got from that article is: Man, Salma Hayek, not only is she an incredible actress … but what a great producer she is,” Chastain told the outlet from the New York City premiere of her new film Molly’s Game. “Reading all those hoops she was jumping through, how she got her movie made. I thank goodness for her and I’m so grateful she is in our industry. I hope that what’s happening now will create lasting change for more artists like Salma Hayek to have an opportunity to tell stories.”
In a statement to PEOPLE on Wednesday, a spokesperson for Weinstein denied “all of the sexual allegations as portrayed by Salma” — though the movie mogul admitted to “boorish behavior.” Addressing a slew of claims levied against him by Hayek, Weinstein said he had to fight to cast Hayek as the lead Frida over Jennifer Lopez, and said any tension on set helped make the film better.
“Mr. Weinstein regards Salma Hayek as a first-class actress and cast her in several of his movies, among them Once Upon a Time in Mexico, Dogma, and Studio 54. He was very proud of her Best Actress Academy Award nomination for Frida and continues to support her work,” read the statement.
In her op-ed, Hayek said Weinstein demanded the actress to do a sex scene with another woman with full-frontal nudity, which she said led to her having a “nervous breakdown” on set.
Weinstein denies the allegation and said the scene was choreographed by Hayek herself.
“Mr. Weinstein does not recall pressuring Salma to do a gratuitous sex scene with a female costar and he was not there for the filming,” read the statement. “However, that was part of the story, as Frida Kahlo was bisexual and the more significant sex scene in the movie was choreographed by Ms. Hayek with Geoffrey Rush. The original uni-brow used was an issue because it diverted attention from the performances.”
Hayek also included a list of sexual advances she claims Weinstein made against her over the course of filming.
“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,” said Weinstein in the statement.
Over 50 women have accused Weinstein, 65, of sexual misconduct since The New York Times and The New Yorker documented decades of alleged sexual misconduct and sexual assault involving a number of women in detailed articles in October.
In a statement to PEOPLE, Weinstein’s attorneys, Berk and Brafman, previously said: “Mr. Weinstein has never at any time committed an act of sexual assault, and it is wrong and irresponsible to conflate claims of impolitic behavior or consensual sexual contact later regretted, with an untrue claim of criminal conduct. There is a wide canyon between mere allegation and truth, and we are confident that any sober calculation of the facts will prove no legal wrongdoing occurred.
“Nonetheless, to those offended by Mr. Weinstein’s behavior, he remains deeply apologetic.”
Molly’s Game hits theaters Dec. 25.