Salma Hayek joined host Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani to discuss her recent project “The Prophet,” an animated film adaptation of Lebanese writer Kahlil Gibran’s 1923 book of the same name. But when a viewer asked the 48 year old actress if she had been discriminated against for her accent or background before she became famous, the star revealed that fame was not a deterrent to discrimination.
“Of course, I’ve been discriminated,” Hayek told the host. “I think America has a very severe problem with discrimination that we try to overlook. It’s there.”
When Modarresy-Tehrani asked for a specific moment she experienced discrimination, the Mexican-born actress said there are “just so many” but she specifically recalled an incident in a Los Angeles movie theater when the actress and a friend tried to sit in the center of the theater near another patron.
The patron in question told the duo that they couldn't sit there, adding, the actress recalls, "I don’t want to feel your presence there." The conversation quickly turned aggressive, Hayek said, with the man screaming that she and her friend should "Go back to their country!" to which Hayek says she responded, "Not only do I have my citizenship but even before it was America, this was already my country and if you don’t like it you can move."
Earlier in the interview, Hayek, who is of Lebanese-descent, also stated that she believes discrimination is particularly bad for women.
“Now imagine I’m a woman, Latin and Arab and you’re asking me, ‘have I ever been discriminated?” she said with a laugh.
“I have a whole book that I could write about these moments, that are very memorable,” Hayek added. “But I have to say they never really quite hurt me.”