Sunday 16 December 2018

Weinstein tried to 'shove himself' on me, says Uma Thurman

Accusation: Uma Thurman. REUTERS
Accusation: Uma Thurman. REUTERS

Jocelyn Noveck in New York

Actress Uma Thurman has become the latest high-profile actress to accuse disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein of forcing himself on her sexually.

The allegation was immediately denied by Weinstein's lawyer with a threat of legal action, but the mogul admitted making an "awkward pass".

In a separate allegation, Thurman also said 'Kill Bill' director Quentin Tarantino coerced her into driving a car that she believed to be faulty, resulting in injuries including a permanently damaged neck, a concussion and damage to her knees.

Thurman's allegations against Weinstein, who has been accused of rape, assault or other sexual misconduct by scores of women, had been widely anticipated since she hinted late last year that she had a story to tell but wanted to wait until she was less angry.

"I used the word 'anger,' but I was more worried about crying, to tell you the truth," Thurman said. "I was not a groundbreaker on a story I knew to be true. So what you really saw was a person buying time."

Thurman said that an early encounter with Weinstein in a Paris hotel room in the 1990s ended with him suddenly appearing in a bathrobe and leading her to a steam room, but that she did not feel threatened.

She said the first "attack" happened later in London.

"He pushed me down," she said. "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."

Later, she alleged, she arranged a meeting with Weinstein and 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."

Thurman's memory of the Weinstein encounter stops there, but it quotes a friend who was waiting downstairs as saying Thurman emerged from an elevator dishevelled and shaking.

"Her eyes were crazy, and she was totally out of control," said the friend, Ilona Herman.

When Thurman was able to talk again, Herman said, she revealed that Weinstein, who was one of the most powerful men in Hollywood, had threatened to derail her career.

Ben Brafman, Weinstein's lawyer, said the producer was "stunned and saddened" by accusations from Thurman. He emphasised Weinstein and Thurman had worked together for more than two decades.

The lawyer said Weinstein acknowledged making "an awkward pass at Ms Thurman 25 years ago, which he regrets and immediately apologised for".

He said it was a mystery why Thurman would wait so long to come forward or "embellish what really happened to include false accusations of attempted physical assault".

He said he was considering whether any legal action against her would be appropriate.

Irish Independent

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