A Women In Film Event Turned Into A Heated Debate Between Salma Hayek And Jessica Williams

January 30, 2017 / Posted by:

During the Sundance Film Festival last week, a fancy lunch was held for women in film and things got uncomfortable. A “fancy lunch fight” made me picture former Daily Show correspondent Jessica Williams calling Salma Hayek out for yanking the last gluten-free roll from the breadbasket before asking if anyone wanted it first. But according to the Los Angeles Times, the fight was more serious and messier.

Many famous women were in attendance to talk about their experience in the industry, which turned into talk about Trump. Salma Hayek made a comment about how people shouldn’t act like victims during this time, to which Shirley MacLaine added that Trump is a challenge for “our inner democracy.” Jessica Williams then asked how someone who is a black woman – which she is – or a transgendered person would do that, since it’s easier said than done. Both Shirley and Salma weren’t having it. Shirley quoted Salma and told Jessica to stop being a victim, while Salma asked Jessica to try to identify as someone other than black or a woman. Jessica said that she does that, but that some days her identity is that of a black woman. Salma responded by telling Jessica that that’s a trap and that she needs to “take the time to investigate” herself. Salma and Jessica weren’t ready to move on and make small talk about soup or napkins.

After a few moments of reflection, Williams returned to Hayek. “I think what you’re saying is valid, but I also think that what you’re saying doesn’t apply to all women. I think that’s impossible.”

“What part of it is impossible?” Hayek responded. “You’re giving attention to how the other one feels.”

“Because I have to,” Williams said.

“If you have to do that, then do that,” Hayek said. “Then that’s your journey. But I want to inspire other people to know it’s a choice.”

Williams, visibly uncomfortable, said she also wanted to encourage all of the women in the room to pay special attention to women of color and LGBT women. “I think we need to not speak over black women,” she said, “not assign them labels.”

“What does this mean, ‘speak over?'” Hayek asked.

“To project your ideas on me.” Williams said. “I think there is a fear that if we present an idea that, ‘Hey, maybe [black women] have it a little bit harder in this country’ — because we do; black women and trans women do — if we’re having it a little bit harder, it doesn’t invalidate your experience. I really am begging you to not take it personally.”

Oh, but Salma took it very personally. Salma let Jessica know that she’s had it way harder.

“So when you say women of color,” Hayek began. Then she noticed that Williams was not making eye contact with her. “Jessica, do you mind if I look at your eyes?…I feel misunderstood. It’s not shutting you up. I feel misunderstood on one point: We should be also curious about our brain. By being the best that you can be. That’s what I was trying to say to you. Let’s not just spend all the time in the anger, but in the investigation. Baby, I’m Mexican and Arab. I’m from another generation, baby, when this was not even a possibility. My generation, they said, ‘Go back to Mexico. You’ll never be anything other than a maid in this country.’ By the heads of studios! There was no movement. Latino women were not even anywhere near where you guys are. I was the first one. I’m 50 years old. So I understand.”

Jessica, who was done fighting, just sort of responded by saying that no, Salma didn’t understand, and left it at that. Jessica later explained how she felt on Twitter.

It’s too bad that Jessica checked out. I’m sure there was more than one person at that table who would have loved to have seen Jessica deliver some bitchiness back at Salma, if only to put Salma in her place for calling her “baby” so many times. “Oh sweetie honey, listen up. You call me ‘baby’ one more time, and you’ll be wearing this glass of fancy lunchtime wine.

Here’s Salma at the SAG Awards looking like a bridesmaid from an Easter weekend wedding.

Pics: Wenn.com

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