In an interview with The New York Times‘ Maureen Dowd, Uma Thurman accused Harvey Weinstein of sexual misconduct and detailed instances of alleged professional misconduct while on set with Quentin Tarantino. Thurman had worked with both Weinstein and Tarantino on Pulp Fiction and later both volumes of Kill Bill.
Thurman had previously hinted at negative experiences with Weinstein, but this is the first time the actresses has detailed the allegations. Speaking to The New York Times, Thurman alleges that Weinstein put on a robe during a business meeting in Paris and asked her to follow him to a steam room. “I didn’t feel threatened,” the actress said. “I thought he was being super idiosyncratic, like this was your kooky, eccentric uncle.”
After the Paris meeting, the actress alleges that Weinstein attempted to sexually assault 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,” 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 then says she returned with a friend to the Savoy Hotel where the alleged assault took place to confront Weinstein. Thurman asked to meet Weinstein in the lobby but was then convinced by his assistant to go to his hotel room. She says that she warned the producer: “If you do what you did to me to other people you will lose your career, your reputation and your family, I promise you.”
According to the article, Thurman’s “memory of the incident abruptly stops there.” However, her friend Ilona Herman, who was waiting for her in the lobby, claims she remembers what happened. “She was very disheveled and so upset and had this blank look,” Herman told the Times. “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.” When Thurman recovered, the friend alleges that she told her that Weinstein had threatened her career.
In a statement released through a spokesperson, Weinstein denied threatening Thurman’s career but acknowledges that he made a sexual advance on the actress. “Mr. Weinstein acknowledges making a pass at Ms. Thurman in England after misreading her signals in Paris,” the statement reads. “He immediately apologized.”
The article also details instances of professional misconduct by Quentin Tarantino. Thurman alleges that on the set of Kill Bill, Tarantino spat in her face and choked her during takes in the place of actors, Michael Madsen and Chiaki Kuriyama. She also alleges that while filming Kill Bill in Mexico, Tarantino persuaded her to drive a car that she described as “a death box.” While shooting the scene, Thurman lost control of the car and crashed into a tree.
Thurman posted the footage of the crash on her personal Instagram writing that “The circumstances of this event were negligent to the point of criminality” and adding that Tarantino was “deeply regretful and remains remorseful about this sorry event”.
In an interview with Deadline, Tarantino responds to the allegations in The New York Times article. “Me and Uma had our issues about the crash. She blamed me for the crash and she had a right to blame me for the crash,” the director said. “I didn’t mean to do it. I talked her into getting in the car, I assured her the road was safe. And it wasn’t. The car might even have been dubious too even if I didn’t know that then. We had our issues about it.”
Tarantino also explained why he chose to spit in Therman’s face while filming. “Naturally, I did it,” he said. “Who else should do it? A grip? One, I didn’t trust Michael Madsen because, I don’t know where the spit’s going to go, if Michael Madsen does it. I talked to Uma and I said, look. I’ve got to kind of commit to doing this to you. I’ll only do it twice, at the most, three times. But I can’t have you laying here, getting spit on, again and again and again, because somebody else is messing it up by missing.”
If you have been sexually assaulted, there are resources to help you.
- Main & Featured Image: Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions