As the #MeToo movement began to take shape back in November, Access Hollywood asked Uma Thurman how she felt about sexual misconduct in the entertainment industry.
“I don’t have a tiny soundbite for you,” Thurman said. “Because I am not a child, and I have learned that when I’ve spoken in anger, I usually regret the way I express myself. So I’ve been waiting to feel less angry. And when I’m ready, I’ll say what I have to say.”
It appears as though Thurman is ready.
The actress spoke to The New York Times in a story that ran Sunday about being sexually assaulted by Harvey Weinstein, a now disgraced producer facing multiple sexual misconduct accusations, whom she knew from Pulp Fiction — the movie that arguably put Weinstein on the map.
“I knew him pretty well before he attacked me,” Thurman told The Times. “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.”
Thurman said it was in a meeting in Weinstein’s Paris hotel room where things took a turn.
“They were arguing about a script when the bathroom came out,” The Times article said. Weinstein allegedly led Thurman down a hall into a steam room. She said she told Weinstein how ridiculous it was, since she was in a full black leather outfit and it was so hot. Weinstein supposedly got “very flustered and mad and he jumped and ran out.”
Not long after this, Thurman said Weinstein attacked her in a hotel room 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,” Thurman told The Times. “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 Weinstein sent her flowers the next day.
“They were yellow,” Thurman said. “And I opened the note like it was a soiled diaper and it just said, ‘You have great instincts.’”
The article continued, “Then, she says, Weinstein’s assistants started calling again to talk about projects.” These assistants allegedly “had their own special choreography” to lure actresses to Weinstein, The Times said.
“Once the assistants vanished, Thurman says, she warned 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.'” Thurman didn’t mention any response from Weinstein, though his representative confirmed to The Times, “she very well could have said this.”
Also through a spokesperson, Weinstein denied “ever threatening her [Thurman’s] prospects.” According to him, the two had “a flirtatious and fun working relationship” up until the steam room incident.
Of the alleged incident in London, a statement from Weinstein said: “Mr. Weinstein acknowledges making a pass at Ms. Thurman in England after misreading her signals in Paris. He immediately apologized.”
According to The Times, Thurman maintained a working relationship with Weinstein despite privately regarding him as an enemy.
But everything supposedly changed after Quentin Tarantino noticed how Thurman acted around Weinstein.
Thurman said she had already told Tarantino about what happened in London, but “he probably dismissed it like ‘Oh, poor Harvey, trying to get girls he can’t have,’ whatever he told himself, who knows?’ But she reminded him again and ‘the penny dropped for him. He confronted Harvey.'”
When this happened, Weinstein was “hurt” and “surprised,” and supposedly offered an apology.
The animosity between Thurman and Weinstein reportedly affected her relationship with Tarantino, whom she worked with on Kill Bill.
It was on set for the film where Thurman said she was pressured by Tarantino to drive a vehicle that “might not be working that well.” She ended up crashing the vehicle into a tree.
“I felt this searing pain and thought, ‘Oh my God, I’m never going to walk again.'” Thurman told The Times. “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. 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 also detailed other behavior from Thurman deemed “sadistic” by The Times, such as spitting in her face and choking her with a chain for scenes.
“Harvey assaulted me but that didn’t kill me,” Thurman said. “What really got me about the crash was that it was a cheap shot.” She told The Times she never felt disempowered — until the crash.
Thurman took to Instagram on Monday — a day after the interview was published — to say that she doesn’t hold Tarantino responsible.
i post this clip to memorialize it’s full exposure in the nyt by Maureen Dowd. the circumstances of this event were negligent to the point of criminality. i do not believe though with malicious intent. Quentin Tarantino, was deeply regretful and remains remorseful about this sorry event, and gave me the footage years later so i could expose it and let it see the light of day, regardless of it most likely being an event for which justice will never be possible. he also did so with full knowledge it could cause him personal harm, and i am proud of him for doing the right thing and for his courage. THE COVER UP after the fact is UNFORGIVABLE. for this i hold Lawrence Bender, E. Bennett Walsh, and the notorious Harvey Weinstein solely responsible. they lied, destroyed evidence, and continue to lie about the permanent harm they caused and then chose to suppress. the cover up did have malicious intent, and shame on these three for all eternity. CAA never sent anyone to Mexico. i hope they look after other clients more respectfully if they in fact want to do the job for which they take money with any decency.
“Quentin Tarantino, was deeply regretful and remains remorseful about this sorry event, and gave me the footage years later so i could expose it and let it see the light of day, regardless of it most likely being an event for which justice will never be possible,” part of the caption read. “he also did so with full knowledge it could cause him personal harm, and i am proud of him for doing the right thing and for his courage.”
Thurman went on to explain that the cover up of the accident is “unforgivable.” She said she holds Lawrence Bender, E. Bennett Walsh and Weinstein himself solely responsible. Thurman also later mentioned CAA, her former agency, condemning them for not looking after their clients.
“they lied, destroyed evidence and continue to lie about the permanent harm they caused and then chose to suppress,” the caption continued. “the cover up did have malicious intent, and shame on these three for all enternity.”
A spokesperson for Weinstein denied these allegations, and said he “did not give instructions to destroy the vehicle or orchestrate a cover-up.”
On Monday, Tarantino responded to The Times’ article in a lengthy interview with Deadline Hollywood.
He told Deadline he had spoken to Thurman prior to The Times article. Tarantino was even set to participate in the interview, but he was unable to hook up with Maureen Dowd, the article’s author. This, he said, resulted in him ending up “taking the hit and taking the heat.”
Tarantino called the accident “one of the biggest regrets” of his career and life, and expressed remorse; although, he said he did initially feel Thurman would be safe in the car and that he didn’t pressure the actress.
Tarantino didn’t seem too concerned about any controversy resulting from The Times article.
“I feel like I’ve been honest here and told the truth, and it feels really good after two days of misrepresentation, to be able to say it out loud,” Tarantino told Deadline. “Whatever comes of it, I’ve said my piece. I’ve got big shoulders and I can handle it.”
Thurman hasn’t yet responded to the Deadline article.