The 47-year-old actress — who told her fans to “stay tuned” in a #MeToo Instagram post calling out Harvey Weinstein in November — opened up about her experience with the disgraced producer in an interview with The New York Times on Saturday, accusing him of inappropriate behavior on several occasions.
In a statement to ET, a spokesperson for Weinstein denied Thurman’s allegations, saying: “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 apologized 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,” continued the statement — which was sent with photos of Weinstein and Thurman at social events through the years. “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.”
Thurman shares a different side of the story, telling The New York Times that Weinstein emerged in a bathrobe during a meeting in his Paris hotel room after the release of Pulp Fiction in 1994 — where he led her down a hallway to a steam room where she declared, “This is ridiculous, what are you doing?” and he “ran out.”
“I didn’t feel threatened,” she said. “I thought he was being super idiosyncratic, like this was your kooky, eccentric uncle.”
Thurman called her encounter with Weinstein at the Savoy hotel in London, England, his first “attack.” “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,” she alleged. “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, Thurman claimed Weinstein sent her a bouquet of yellow roses to apologize. “I opened the note like it was a soiled diaper and it just said, ‘You have great instincts.’”
She decided to confront Weinstein about his behavior, taking her friend, makeup artist Ilona Herman, back to Weinstein’s hotel with her. Thurman said she agreed to go up to Weinstein’s hotel room, where she claimed she warned him, “If you do what you did to me to other people you will lose your career, your reputation and your family, I promise you,” after which she claims he threatened to derail her career.
“She very well could have said this,” Weinstein’s rep agreed to the Times, though denied that he threatened her prospects.
Thurman — who said her failure to speak up was “one of the reasons that a young girl would walk into his room alone, the way I did” — also opened up about “the Quentin of it all,” alleging that the Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill director Quentin Tarantino was aware of her encounter with Weinstein in London. She also claimed that Tarantino put her in unsafe conditions on the set of Kill Bill, resulting in a car crash that left her neck “permanently damaged” and her knees “screwed up.”
“The steering wheel was at my belly and my legs were jammed under me. I felt this searing pain and thought, ‘Oh my God, I’m never going to walk again,’” she said of the crash, of which she alleged it took 15 years for Tarantino to hand over the footage. “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.”
“When they turned on me after the accident, I went from being a creative contributor and performer to being like a broken tool,” she said, claiming that it was Tarantino who spat on her face and choked her with a chain in Kill Bill scenes where characters are seen performing the acts.
“Harvey assaulted me but that didn’t kill me,” she said. “What really got me about the crash was that it was a cheap shot. I had been through so many rings of fire by that point. I had really always felt a connection to the greater good in my work with Quentin and most of what I allowed to happen to me and what I participated in was kind of like a horrible mud wrestle with a very angry brother. But at least I had some say, you know?”
“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,” she concluded.