"And when I'm ready, I'll say what I have to say."
Uma Thurman's stilted voice to Access Hollywood when asked about sexual abuse in Hollywood last November caused us all to feel deep concern. Now, Thurman is ready and she spoke exclusively to the New York Times about how disgraced film mogul Harvey Weinstein sexually assaulted her, and how director Quentin Tarantino put her life at risk with a stunt.
She says she knew Weinstein well before the alleged assault. He was the executive producer of the Kill Bill trilogy, the films for which Thurman is best known, and the co-executive producer for Pulp Fiction. Both films were directed by Tarantino.
Thurman says that Weinstein groomed her prior to the alleged attack. He "complimented" and "validated her," as she struck up a friendship with his then-wife Eve Chilton.
At a meeting at Weinstein's hotel room in Paris, Thurman alleges that he came out in a bathrobe and led her into a steam room. She recalled that she was wearing a leather outfit. When she said "this is ridiculous," he became embarrassed and fled the room.
Later, in London, Thurman says that Weinstein sexually assaulted her. "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. Weinstein denied the allegations in a statement.
That wasn't the only moment that her autonomy was violated. On the set of Kill Bill in Mexico, Tarantino asked her to speed-drive a car that had been altered from a stick shift to an automatic transmission. Thurman told producers that she was not willing to do the stunt because she felt the car was unsafe (the producers told the Times that they do not recall Thurman's protestations).
Tarantino demanded that she drive the car for the shot, and after taking a rickety turn, the car hit a tree. "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."
She suffered a concussion and needed to wear a break brace, and that today she deals with permanent physical damage from the accident, including neck and knee pain. Thurman then fought with Miramax and Tarantino to obtain the footage of the car accident. The video was posted at the Times, and readers should be aware that it is graphic. Thurman says that she felt dehumanised "to the point of death" by the car crash.
It's her last quote that has struck readers the most, prompting multiple tweets in solidarity: "Personally, it has taken me 47 years to stop calling people who are mean to you ‘in love’ with you. It took a long time because I think that as little girls we are conditioned to believe that cruelty and love somehow have a connection and that is like the sort of era that we need to evolve out of."
Refinery29 has reached out to Thurman for comment.
If you have experienced sexual violence and are in need of crisis support, please visit the Rape Crisis website or call 0808 802 9999.
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