Months after the Harvey Weinstein scandal rocked Hollywood and spurred a backlash from women in the industry, Salma Hayek is revealing that shame and fear made her hesitate to tell her story sooner.
The Frida actress—who wrote a rousing first person December op-ed for the New York Times after declining to be a part of the original October exposé—opened up about how her initial reaction to the publication’s call was humiliation. During an interview with Oprah Winfrey on Wednesday as part of the former host’s Super Soul Conversation Live Event, Hayek spoke out about the experience.
"[The New York Times] contacted me to be a part of the first story and already by this contact, there was all this turmoil and I started crying when they asked and I ended up not doing it," the Mexican actress recalled, as reported by BuzzFeed. ”And then I felt ashamed that I was a coward. I was supporting women for two decades but I couldn't do this. I thought of my daughter. I thought of the shame."
When the headline-making investigation came out, Hayek remembers feeling a similar emotion, which ultimately convinced her to speak up about the abuse and harassment she says she endured while working with the former Hollywood producer.
“When it came out, then I was ashamed that I didn't speak up and then when so many women came out, it was a strange sensation,” she said.
However, as a slew of A-listers like Ashley Judd, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Angelina Jolie added their names to the list, she worried that her story wasn’t worth telling because she had been sexually harassed in the past.
"I felt like my pain was so small compared with that of others,” she said, adding that she had not even told her husband or friends like Penelope Cruz and Robert Rodriguez about the alleged mistreatment. "I thought, ‘There's no point for me to talk because it happens to everyone.” Her full interview will air on OWN on Feb. 27, and will be available via podcast.
VIDEO: Salma Hayek Claims "Monster" Harvey Weinstein Threatened to Kill Her If She Refused His Demands
In the aftermath of the scandal, Hayek says she’s choosing to stay positive and keep the momentum going on the #MeToo conversation.
Addressing victims, she said, “I am a short, Mexican-Arab, angry woman ... but I don't let that anger blur my vision. It’s important to take responsibility for the things we do to others, but we must stop apologizing for being attacked and we must move into a place where you can actually have a conversation.”