CONTENT WARNING: This article discusses sexual harassment.

Harvey Weinstein has come out of abject silence to deny allegations of sexual harassment, bullying, abuse and a literal death threat made by Salma Hayek in the New York Times this morning.

If you missed that piece – and you should absolutely give it a read here – it largely covers the time period during Hayek’s production of the film Frida, which went on to win two Academy Awards.

She described how, when they began working together, she had to learn how to say no: to taking a shower together, to letting him give her a massage, to letting him give her oral sex, etc.

She described how he used every weapon in his arsenal to derail the film, at one point threatening to have her killed. She says he forced her to film an unnecessary sex scene, with co-star Ashley Judd.

On the day it came to film the scene, Hayek had a nervous breakdown, eventually requiring a tranquilliser to shoot the scene. “My body began to shake uncontrollably, my breath was short and I began to cry and cry, unable to stop, as if I was throwing up tears.”

Speaking through his spokesperson, Weinstein has denied all allegations of sexual harassment or assault, claiming that “others who witnessed the events have a different account of what transpired”.

He also attempted to explain away other events portrayed by Hayek: that Miramax did indeed support the film; that he never pressured Hayek to film the sex scene, that Weinstein attempted to get Edward Norton credit for rewriting the script; and that he continues to support her as an actress.

“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,” his statement said. “However, that was part of the story, as Frida Kahlo was bisexual and the more significant sex scene was choreographed by Ms. Hayek with Geoffrey Rush [who played Leon Trotsky]. The original uni-brow used was an issue because it diverted attention from the performances. 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.”

He did admit to there being “creative friction” on set, and explained one incident of bad behaviour after a test screening of the film as in response to his “disappointment” in the film. (Weinstein had demanded Frida score at least an 80 in the test in order for it to be released in a single movie theatre, a feat which less than ten percent of films achieve in the first screening; it received an 85.)

“By Mr. Weinstein’s own admission, his boorish behaviour following a screening of Frida was prompted by his own disappointment in the cut of the movie – and a reason he took a firm hand in the final edit, alongside the very skilled director Julie Taymor.”

Hayek has yet to comment on Weinstein’s response.

This marks one of the very few times Weinstein has publicly commented on a specific allegation, of which there are dozens levelled against him, including from Judd, Lupita Nyong’o, Rose McGowan, Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow, Lena Headey and Asia Argento.

The last time he did so was when Nyong’o published a piece (also in the NY Times), accusing him of sexual harassment and bullying.

Nyong’o is one of thousands praising Hayek for coming forward.

If you would like to access support around issues of sexual harassment or assault, please call 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732.

Image: Getty Images / J. Vespa