Uma Thurman details sexual assault by Harvey Weinstein, why she lost trust in Quentin Tarantino
Actor Uma Thurman, in long-awaited remarks, accused disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein of forcing himself on her sexually years ago in a London hotel room.Updated: Feb 04, 2018 10:17 IST
Actress Uma Thurman, who is indelibly linked to Harvey Weinstein’s Miramax studio thanks to her iconic roles in Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill, has broken her silence about the disgraced Hollywood mogul, accusing him of attacking her and threatening her career. Dozens of Hollywood women -- including Ashley Judd, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Beckinsale and Salma Hayek -- have accused Weinstein of acts ranging from sexual harassment to rape.
The scandal touched off a deluge of allegations bringing down powerful men in entertainment, politics and the media, forcing many industries to re-examine workplace harassment policies.
Thurman, 47, told The New York Times in an interview published Saturday of two incidents in London that took place after the release of 1994’s Oscar-winning Pulp Fiction. They followed an uncomfortable episode at a Paris hotel in which Thurman said Weinstein was dressed in a bathrobe and led her into a steam room during a meeting about a script.
In the first “attack,” which took place in Weinstein’s suite at London’s Savoy Hotel, “He pushed me down. He tried to shove himself on me. He tried to expose himself. He did all kinds of unpleasant things,” she said.
“But he didn’t actually put his back into it and force me. You’re like an animal wriggling away, like a lizard. I was doing anything I could to get the train back on the track. My track. Not his track.”
Thurman said she took a friend with her to confront Weinstein not long after that first incident. But his assistants pressured her to meet him alone in his room. Thurman said she told Weinstein: “If you do what you did to me to other people you will lose your career, your reputation and your family, I promise you.”
Weinstein told the paper “she very well could have said this.”
‘I had a big fight with Quentin’
Thurman’s friend Ilona Herman, who is Robert De Niro’s longtime makeup artist, recalled in the Times that the actress came out of that one-on-one meeting “very dishevelled and so upset and had this blank look.”
Herman said Thurman told her that Weinstein had threatened to end her career.
Weinstein denied doing so and “acknowledges making an awkward pass 25 years ago at Ms Thurman in England after misreading her signals, after a flirtatious exchange in Paris, for which he immediately apologized and deeply regrets,” his spokeswoman said in a statement received by AFP.
“However, her claims about being physically assaulted are untrue... Mr Weinstein is saddened and puzzled as to ‘why’ Ms Thurman, someone he considers a colleague and a friend, waited 25 years to make these allegations public.”
Weinstein, who like other men accused of misconduct has been banished from the entertainment industry, is reportedly in treatment for sexual addiction. Until now, he has insisted all his sexual encounters have been consensual.
His lawyer Ben Brafman said Weinstein was “stunned and saddened.”
Thurman’s comments to the Times “are being carefully examined and investigated before deciding whether any legal action against her would be appropriate,” Brafman said in a statement received by AFP.
The actress had suggested mistreatment by Weinstein in an Instagram post last November when she said: “you don’t deserve a bullet -- stay tuned.”
In the Times interview, Thurman also accused director Quentin Tarantino -- who has often referred to her as his “muse” -- of forcing her to drive an unsafe car during filming of Kill Bill, leading to a serious crash.
In footage posted by the Times, the actress is seen speeding down an unpaved road before crashing into a tree. Thurman is jolted sickeningly and left dazed for several moments until crew members carry her away. “I felt this searing pain and thought, ‘Oh my God, I’m never going to walk again,’” she said.
“Quentin and I had an enormous fight, and I accused him of trying to kill me.” Tarantino did not respond to requests by the Times for comment.
Lambs to slaughter
Miramax told her at the time that she could see the footage of the crash if she gave up her right to sue, Thurman said. She declined. “When they turned on me after the accident,” she said, “I went from being a creative contributor and performer to being like a broken tool.”
Thurman said she has complex feelings about her experiences, on the one hand as a victim but on the other as an enabler. “The complicated feeling I have about Harvey is how bad I feel about all the women that were attacked after I was,” she told the Times. ]“I am one of the reasons that a young girl would walk into his room alone, the way I did. Quentin used Harvey as the executive producer of Kill Bill, a movie that symbolizes female empowerment. And all these lambs walked into slaughter because they were convinced nobody rises to such a position who would do something illegal to you, but they do.”