Salma Hayek slams sexism and racism in the US and Hollywood

Salma Hayek at the Toronto premier of The Prophet.

Mexican-Lebanese actor and film producer Salma Hayek has said she never felt accepted by Hollywood.

Talking with the Huffington Post, Hayek spoke out on racism in the United States and what it means to be an Arab Latina in the Hollywood industry.

Promoting her new animated feature movie Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet, based on Gibran's poetry book of the same name, Hayek said the US has a “very severe problem with discrimination that we try to overlook. It's there.”

For women of colour, the Mexican-Lebanese actress and film producer said, discrimination is even harsher. “The biggest gap between man and woman in pay is with Latin women. They only get 50% than men doing the same job,” she said.

On the controversy around Donald Trump's anti-Mexican statements, she criticised the billionaire presidential candidate for using immigrants as a political pawn and being far removed from the reality people of colour face in the country.

“The US is not a beauty pageant, the reality of this country is very challenging,” Hayek said.

She also confessed that Hollywood has never accepted her because of her refusal to abide by the stereotypes of Latina and Arab women. Hayek said sexism pervades Hollywood, noting: “They want a girl to come in and look pretty and do as they say.”

About her new movie The Prophet, Hayek said she hopes it will “set you free” and enable the audience “to find our own ideas and our own thoughts, not what is the right thing to say, or what people want us, or manipulate us, to think.”

[Reprinted from TeleSUR English.]

Like the article? Subscribe to Green Left now! You can also like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.