Harvey hit on me too ... and he wasn't the only one: Thurman
'Pulp Fiction' star opens up on the abuses she's endured during her career
Uma Thurman, who made several films for Harvey Weinstein’s company Miramax, has broken her silence on the Weinstein abuse scandal. In an interview with the New York Times, Thurman has detailed the abuse that she says that she suffered at the hands of Weinstein, as well as her strained relationship with the director Quentin Tarantino, being in a car crash on the set of Kill Bill Vol 2, and being raped by an unnamed actor when she was 16.
In October, shortly after the New York Times and New Yorker articles revealed multiple accusations of sexual assault against Weinstein, Thurman was asked about the allegations at the premiere of her Broadway play, The Parisian Woman, where she replied, “I’ve learned that when I have spoken in anger, I usually regret the way that I have expressed myself. So I've been waiting to feel less angry.”
Then on Thanksgiving, she posted a picture of her Kill Bill character accompanied by the caption: “I am grateful today, to be alive, for all those I love, and for all those who have the courage to stand up for others. I said I was angry recently, and I have a few reasons, #metoo, in case you couldn’t tell by the look on my face. I feel it’s important to take your time, be fair, be exact, so ... Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! (Except you Harvey, and all your wicked conspirators – I’m glad it’s going slowly – you don’t deserve a bullet) – stay tuned.”
Now Thurman has decided to speak about what she experienced during her acting career. She describes living in a New York studio flat when she was a teenager and meeting an actor who was 20 years her senior, who then took her back to his home.
“I was ultimately compliant,” she says. “I tried to say no, I cried, I did everything I could do. He told me the door was locked but I never ran over and tried the knob. When I got home, I remember I stood in front of the mirror and I looked at my hands and I was so mad at them for not being bloody or bruised. Something like that tunes the dial one way or another, right? You become more compliant or less compliant, and I think I became less compliant.”
It was after she starred in Pulp Fiction, the film she says made Weinstein rich and respected, that she got to know the producer and his wife, Eve.
“The complicated feeling I have about Harvey is how bad I feel about all the women that were attacked after I was,” she says.
“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 symbolises 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.”
Thurman continues: “I stand as both a person who was subjected to it and a person who was then also part of the cloud cover, so that’s a super weird split to have.
“I knew him pretty well before he attacked me,” she continues. “He used to spend hours talking to me about material and complimenting my mind and validating me. It possibly made me overlook warning signs. This was my champion. I was never any kind of studio darling. He had a chokehold on the type of films and directors that were right for me.”
The first time she says she saw Weinstein in a bathrobe, which is something frequently mentioned by his accusers, was when they were arguing about a script in Paris.
“I didn’t feel threatened,” she says. “I thought he was being super idiosyncratic, like this was your kooky, eccentric uncle.
“Then I followed him through a door [at his request, so they could keep talking] and it was a steam room. And I was standing there in my full black leather outfit — boots, pants, jacket. And it was so hot and I said: ‘This is ridiculous, what are you doing?’ And he was getting very flustered and mad and he jumped up and ran out.”
A short time later, she says he forced himself on her when at the Savoy Hotel in London. “It was such a bat to the head. He pushed me down. He tried to shove himself on me. He tried to expose himself. He did all kinds of unpleasant things. 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.”
When she next confronted him about the incident, after he sent her 26 yellow roses and his assistants started trying to set up a meeting, the article alleges, she took a friend, makeup artist Ilona Herman, with her to the hotel. Thurman doesn’t remember what happened next but, according to Herman, when she emerged from his hotel room, “she was very dishevelled and so upset and had this blank look. Her eyes were crazy and she was totally out of control. I shoveled her into the taxi and we went home to my house. She was really shaking.” Herman said that when Thurman was able to talk again, she revealed that Weinstein had threatened to derail her career.
After that, the article says, she saw Weinstein as an “enemy”. When at the Cannes Film Festival in 2001, it says that she received an apology after he stated that he was hurt by what she had told Quentin Tarantino of their encounters and she reiterated to him what had happened in the Savoy.
“He offered her an apology with many of the sentiments he would trot out about 16 years later when the walls caved in,” says the article. “‘I just walked away stunned, like: ‘Okay, well there’s my half-assed apology,”’ Thurman says.”
The New York Times states that Weinstein has responded to the article through a spokesperson. “Weinstein denied ever threatening her prospects and said that he thought she was ‘a brilliant actress’. He acknowledged her account of the episodes but said that up until the Paris steam room, they had had ‘a flirtatious and fun working relationship.’
“‘Mr Weinstein acknowledges making a pass at Ms Thurman in England after misreading her signals in Paris. He immediately apologised.’”
Responding to a request for comment on the Thurman allegation, Weinstein’s representatives issued a number of photographs of the actress and movie mogul together that “demonstrate the strong relationship” they had.
“We wish the New York Times would have published them,” they added.
The statement continues: “Mr Weinstein 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 apologised and deeply regrets.
“However, her claims about being physically assaulted are untrue. And this is the first time we have heard those details.
“There was no physical contact during Mr Weinstein's awkward pass and 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, noting that he and Ms Thurman have shared a very close and mutually beneficial working relationship where they have made several very successful film projects together.
“This is the first time we are hearing that she considered Mr Weinstein an enemy and the pictures of their history tell a completely different story.”
Tarantino, Thurman says, was initially dismissive of the Savoy incident. It was in Cannes, the article states, that he noticed that she was “skittish” around Weinstein.
Her relationship with Tarantino later soured after an incident on the set of Kill Bill Vol 2. She was asked to drive the blue convertible car that’s a prominent part of the film but had been “led to believe by a teamster … [that it] might not be working that well”.
Despite requesting that a stunt driver operate the car instead, though producers of the film say they do not recall this request, Thurman says that Tarantino was insistent.
“Quentin came in my trailer and didn’t like to hear no, like any director,” she says. “He was furious because I’d cost them a lot of time. But I was scared. He said: ‘I promise you the car is fine. It’s a straight piece of road.’” He persuaded her to do it, and instructed: “ ‘Hit 40 miles per hour or your hair won’t blow the right way and I’ll make you do it again.’ But that was a deathbox that I was in. The seat wasn’t screwed down properly. It was a sand road and it was not a straight road.”
When she drove the car, it ended up careering off the road and crashing into a tree. “When I came back from the hospital in a neck brace with my knees damaged and a large massive egg on my head and a concussion, I wanted to see the car and I was very upset,” she says. “Quentin and I had an enormous fight, and I accused him of trying to kill me. And he was very angry at that, I guess understandably, because he didn’t feel he had tried to kill me.”
Thurman says that she spent 15 years trying to track down the footage from the crash, and was repeatedly denied except under the provision that she legally “release them of any consequences of my future pain and suffering”. She says she did not sign the legal document.
“When they turned on me after the accident,” she says, “I went from being a creative contributor and performer to being like a broken tool.
“Quentin finally atoned by giving it to me after 15 years, right?” she says, “Not that it matters now, with my permanently damaged neck and my screwed-up knees.”
Last October, Tarantino said he had known about the allegations surrounding Weinstein’s behaviour towards women for decades and felt ashamed that he did not do more to stop it, saying: “I knew enough to do more than I did.”
According to the report, Tarantino has not responded to requests for comment. The Telegraph also approached his representatives. – © The Daily Telegraph