After months of telling inquiring reporters that she would share her “Weinstein story” when she felt ready Uma Thurman – one of the actresses most closely associated with the Weinstein brothers’ Miramax film production studio – has finally opened up to the New York Times about her history of rape and abuse at the hands of Harvey Weinstein.
Thurman explains she waited for two reasons: She was worried she “might cry” because of the intensely emotional subject matter, and she also felt guilty for being both a victim and an enabler of Weinstein’s predation. The two worked on a series of immensely popular films together, beginning with the 1994 blockbuster “Pulp Fiction”. Weinstein even introduced her to former President Barack Obama at a fundraiser he hosted for the former president at his house
After more than two decades in the film industry, Thurman is worried that her behavior inadvertently set a precedent that other women followed – willingly and naively walking into the web of a predator.
“The complicated feeling I have about Harvey is how bad I fell about all the women that were attacked after I was,” she told me one recent night, looking anguished in her elegant apartment in River House on Manhattan’s East Side, as she vaped tobacco, sipped white wine and fed empty pizza boxes into the fireplace.
“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.”
Thurman, like fellow Weinstein victim Rose McGowan, accused her former agency, Creative Artists Agency, of abetting Weinstein’s predatory behavior.
The agency has issued a pubic apology. And Thurman says she feels conflicted about her status as being both a victim and a part of the system that turned a blind eye to this culture of victimization.
Like McGowan, Thurman’s history of being assaulted by powerful men in Hollywood began when she was a teenager and just starting her career.
One night when she was 16, Thurman went out in Manhattan and met an actor nearly 20 years her senior. The two went back to his Greenwich Village brownstone for a nightcap.
“I was ultimately compliant,” she remembers. “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 to grab the knob. When I got hoe 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.”
Turning to the subject of Weinstein, Thurman explained how he and his first wife, Eve, befriended her in the aftermath of “Pulp Fiction” – the movie that launched Thurman to stardom.
In a story that by now has become familiar to anybody following the #MeToo movement, Thurman explained how Weinstein groomed her, spending hours discussing film and her career.
Then, one day, they were arguing over a script in a Paris hotel room, when – as Thurman tells it – Weinstein’s infamous bathroom came out.
“I didn’t feel threatened,” she recalls. “I thought he was being super idiosyncratic, like this was your kooky, eccentric uncle.”
Her first attack occurred later 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.”
The next day, she received a bouquet of flowers from Weinstein with a note that read “you have good instincts.” Thurman says she was repulsed.
After that, Thurman soured on Weinstein, but reluctantly continued their working relationship, seeking to minimize her contact with him. Eventually, her repulsion to Weinstein impact her relationship with director Quentin Tarantino. After twice being told about Thurman’s assault, Tarantino confronted Weinstein, who eventually offered Thurman what she described as a “half-assed apology.”
But Tarantino’s increasingly demanding requests of Thurman during the shooting of “Kill Bill” eventually led Thurman to sour on the director. Following a near-fatal accident on the set of “Kill Bill”, Thurman says her resentment finally boiled over and she began to despise Tarantino, who in turn began to resent her.
Weinstein is back in Arizona for rehab. He has reportedly been spotted around Los Angeles following the dozens of accusations, and it’s believed that at least one of the many law enforcement agencies that are investigating him for potential sexual assault charges will soon move forward with an arrest.