"I never thought that one article in the New York Times would be one of the most read stories of the year. It was huge," the actress told The Wrap

By Mike Miller
February 23, 2018 03:58 PM

When Salma Hayek first opened up about her experience working with Harvey Weinstein on 2002’s Frida, she had no idea her story would resonate with so many people.

“It was not what I expected,” Hayek, 51, told The Wrap. “I never thought that one article in the New York Times would be one of the most read stories of the year. It was huge.”

In December, Hayek wrote an emotional op-ed for the paper, recounting her alleged experiences with Weinstein through the course of the making of the Miramax-produced Frida Kahlo biopic. In the piece, she claimed that the now-disgraced mogul had once threatened to kill her when she refused his advances.

She also said Weinstein, now 65, demanded the actress do a sex scene with another woman with full-frontal nudity, a request she said led to her having a “nervous breakdown” on set.

In a statement to PEOPLE, a spokesperson for Weinstein previously denied “all of the sexual allegations as portrayed by Salma” — though he did admit to “boorish behavior.”

The op-ed became one of the Times’ most read stories of 2017. “Many people said they were moved by it,” Hayek told The Wrap. “I was quite shocked.”

The actress went on to reveal details about her experience working on the film that she did not write about in the Times. “There were things I didn’t say,” she explained. “[The producers] decided that I was not a good actress, so they would send an acting coach.”

Harvey Weinstein and Salma Hayek.
| Credit: J. Vespa/WireImage

She added, “Remember, I was also producing, I was in every scene of the movie. They demanded I work with an acting coach for an hour before we started shooting, for her to tell me what to do.”

Hayek said the acting coach also “had a completely different vision of the character than myself and the director [Julie Taymor].” This, she said, led to daily conflict on set. “I was supposed to be obedient. If not, there would be repercussions. It was hell.”

Eventually the acting coach was removed, but Hayek said the experience was “humiliating and completely unnecessary.”

The actress, who previously admitted that she ashamed for not speaking out sooner about Weinstein’s alleged behavior, added, “It was scary to talk about. I am a strong woman, and still I’m scared.”

Now, with dozens of other women coming forward with their own stories of sexual harassment and abuse, Hayek said she’s “feeling great” about the change in Hollywood and beyond.

Salma Hayek
| Credit: Samir Hussein/WireImage

“Not only because it’s about time … I see there is a new collective consciousness beginning to come out of this,” she explained. “Also because it gives me hope for many other subjects. We see that the change can happen. I’m very excited about it for women but not only for women. I am excited for humanity. Through us there will come many answers to many other subjects that have been not resolved.”

Hayek’s latest film, the dark comedy Beatriz at Dinner, is the first lead role she’s taken since Frida. “Fifteen years after Frida, these two men made me feel acknowledged,” she said of the film’s writer Mike White and director Miguel Arteta.

Frida came out in 2002. I did get nominated, but I did not get lead roles for 15 years,” she added, referring to the Best Actress Oscar nod she earned for the role.

Asked why she did not get a lead role for so many years, she said, “I have no idea,” adding that she’s “just grateful” to be working with supportive producers again. “It was easy,” she said of her latest film. “I felt supported and appreciated.”