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Feb 03 2018

Uma Speaks Out

by Nathaniel R

Uma Thurman photographed by Damon Winter for the New York Times

"This is Why Uma Thurman is Angry"is the weekend's must-read.The movie star has been suggesting that she had a rage boiling up inside her for months now.She has now added her voice to the chorus of women accusing Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault.Though she spares us the sickening details this sharply written editorial by Maureen Dowd,who spent two nights talking to Uma,suggests plenty.Surprisingly it's more damning,in a curious and,for this particular season,atypical way,of her chief collaborator Quentin Tarantino with whom she had enjoyed a long and creative relationship.

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?

The account of their strained relationship after Weinstein's misconduct and their falling out over a dangerous accident (warning the video is very upsetting) on the set ofKill Billfeel emotionally brutal.

The Bride had more names to cross of her list.

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Reader Comments (29)

Wondering if this puts Death Proof in a new light...

February 3,2018 | Unregistered CommenterMJS

Wishing nothing but love and light for her.She and Todd Haynes would be a match made in cinema heaven,don't you think?

February 3,2018 | Unregistered CommenterTyler

Tarantino is even worse than Harvey!!He sadistically put his muse in a almost fatal position.I hope pple go after him too n his new supposedly last movie get the can!!Bastard!!

February 3,2018 | Unregistered CommenterClaran

Oh sure Quentin,NOW you feel bad.A water bottle's not going to help much;hope Uma told you what to do with it.

February 3,2018 | Unregistered CommenterShawn

This article was so difficult to read....When they described how Tarantino was the one who spit on Uma's face and choked her with the chain in Kill Bill......Another despicable monster whose work will never receive support from me again.

February 3,2018 | Unregistered CommenterSean Diego

What the fuck?!Not only did someone spit in Uma's face but it was Tarantino who did it?Imagine how many kill bill premiers/screening she had to sit through and see someone else's spit hit her face on the big screen.That pisses me off.I would assume spit would be faked not real.God,that makes me hate Tarantino.

February 3,2018 | Unregistered CommenterHuh

"Her hall features a large golden Buddha from her parents in Woodstock;her father,Robert Thurman,is a Buddhist professor of Indo-Tibetan studies at Columbia who thinks Uma is a reincarnated goddess."

A reminder that Uma is very,very white.If a white women with this much privilege was abused in such a way,Hollywood is indeed a very fucked up place.

February 3,2018 | Unregistered Commenterbeyaccount

This should be mandatory reading for every budding director.

February 3,2018 | Unregistered Commentergoran

The more stories like this come out,the more respect I have for Ashley Judd and Rose McGowan for breaking the silence.

It is staggering to see how even well-off,financially stable (essentially set for life),established actresses were too afraid to speak of the abuse they suffered.How much fame and money do you need,that you sit quietly and let things like this be done to you?

February 4,2018 | Unregistered CommenterCarmen Sandiego

that you sit quietly and let things like this be done to you?

Nobody lets anything to happen.You know abuse messes with people's mind,and victims feel it's their fault,right?right?

February 4,2018 | Unregistered Commentersick

Never liked Death Proof.

February 4,2018 | Unregistered Commenterlylee

As I posted yesterday,reading this article actually made me sick.It goes without saying that women should not have to be put through near-death experiences or what basically amounts to torture so we can enjoy their work on the big screen.I'm not supporting Tarantino with my money ever again,either.I hope he has trouble getting an actress to sign on for his next film - my respect will drop for anyone who works with him,male or female.

February 4,2018 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

I hope those renouncing Tarantino look at other male filmmakers' torturous techniques.Kubrick,Hitchcock,Von Trier,O Russell,and several I'm unfamiliar with who I'm sure were mega jerks for the art of it all.

February 4,2018 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

The Weinstein story she tells is similar to Gwyneth in the sense that Weinstein was making the movies she was perfect for and she felt like she had to eat it to get the roles she was right for.But the disgust keeps growing as the years go on.

The Tarantino story is just brutal.And the way they lifted her out of the car is so dangerous!If she had a spinal injury,they could've paralyzed her.

Being the muse is not all it's cracked up to be,especially when the artist discards you.

February 4,2018 | Unregistered CommenterBia

I'm so sorry that Uma had to go through that.I always wondered why,as Tarantino's muse,she never worked with him consistently.I guess now I know.

I will say that I felt the article was poorly written.I had to reread some parts just to understand the meaning,and I wasn't sure if Dowd was attempting to create a connection between the Weinstein assault and the Tarantino one.Did Tarantino's relationship with Thurman deteriorate because of Weinstein,or was this a separate betrayal/violation?I'm still unsure,but Thurman deserved better than Dowd.

February 4,2018 | Unregistered CommenterDavid

Excuse me,my English is very limited for the scope of things I want to express here.

First,my bow to Uma for speaking out.There are two different things here:mistreat and harassment at workpleace.Some might say it's the same,but they're not.

I've never been harassed at my workplace but did receive mistreatment (insults,verbal abuse,etc>).It goes without saying I had no policy on the contract about neither of those things.I'm not an actor,so I suppose theit guild can act out on both?If not,there's some blame in them,too.

Second,I think people has all the right to get angry at Tarantino.But boycotting his movies?As 3artful said,the list of directors past and present it's darn loooong.So I suppose there are a LOT of films we're not seeing anymore?.Unless there are policies from now on protecting workers from all kinds of abuse.I say WORKERS because there are not only actors on the set,you know.

I think this could blown out of proportion.What to do with Nathaniel's own favorite "Dancer in the Dark"?He CANNOT unseen it.Neither do we.Are the ARTS something to do with the people making it?Not at all.This is ridiculous.Get a grip.Call out all kinds of abuse during the set.But you have to take policies about it pronto.Workers must be protected.

There are people called STUNTS.If Uma refused to take that ride,there would probably had to make the film agaim,Ridley Scott-like.I think the actors should be more empowered to take action with this basics.Bjork accused Von Trier for mistreatment but that not impended a whole plethora of Hollywood luminaries to work with the Dane Man in Dogville afterwards.So be it.The actors can be stupid,too.Or accomplices.Whatever suit BEST for you.Bjork didn't shut out.

Lastly,boycotting a film is ridiculous.Be more aware.Demand YOUR guild to protect you against these things.Fight for it.Speak out when things are going in.Tarantino is not the ONLY egomaniac working in the industry.So this should require a code of conduct that's clear and valid as a contract.These people has expensive lawyers for God's sake.They cannot be that naive anymore.Or accomplices.They're consenting adults with lawyers.Pretty known to evryone in the world,also.Well,at least with this high profile actors.The have a voice,like Bjork.

That's all about mistreatment.Sexual harassment is alltogether an entirely different thing.Pretty much more complex and difficult to treat or speak about in this context.

February 4,2018 | Unregistered Commenterchofer

I really hope these things get a solution.A reversed McCarthysm of sorts,with censorship on artist is a lousy thing to witness IMO.What Uma says it is good to put the problem on the cover page once and for all.
The accused have the right to defend themselves,too.Don't forget that.

February 4,2018 | Unregistered Commenterchofer

Seeing some responses.Especially from women here I can totally see why 3Billboards is some kind of hit.Anger begets more anger,indeed.Perhaps that film had some kind of point,nevermind the tonal shifts and lousy take on racism and humour.It¡s all about the witch hunt,like in the last scene.We have to calm down a little.

February 4,2018 | Unregistered Commenterchofer

I feel terrible for Uma and I am glad she shared her story.I agree the article is poorly written.By putting the Quentin story after Harvey,it buries the lead and with the car crash the reader is left wondering what the hell the story is about.

February 4,2018 | Unregistered CommenterJono


a) You're correct - you cannot "unsee"a film made by an artist on this list.But to pretend that learning about surrounding events won't impact your perception is just ludicrous.When you watch Kramer vs Kramer,knowing that Dustin Hoffman actually slapped Meryl Streep without forewarning her (because he didn't trust her acting abilities) is going to make that scene play differently.Art isn't made in a vacuum - so why do we have to pretend we're seeing it one?

b) Can you be very clear about what you mean when you say "blow out of proportion?"Because right now,the biggest consequence for Tarantino is likely that he'll use a stunt double when filming a dangerous action scene,as opposed to cajoling an unwilling actress into doing it herself.

c) chofer,there are tonnes of policies to prevent workers from getting injured/assaulted on set.But here's the thing - powerful people (mostly men) can subvert those policies.We know why women don't speak up (see the Larry Nasser case if you need a primer).And any attempt from women to find a different way to let other women know about shitty situations (see the "Shitty Media Men List"and the controversy) often get thrown back at them.

d) How do I feel about directors,in general,who are abusive jerks,especially in the name of art?Honestly,I respect them less.If their skills as a director are limited where they cannot get the performer to convey a certain emotion without terrorizing them,they probably aren't as good as I imagined them to be.

February 4,2018 | Unregistered CommenterArkaan

"Seeing some responses.Especially from women here I can totally see why 3Billboards is some kind of hit."

You can call me out by name,chofer,you don't have to refer to me as "women."Also,is "you are the reason for Three Billboards is a hit"the new "you are the reason Trump was elected"?

February 4,2018 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne


Very insightful comments and questions I have no answers to all of them,but I'll try...

a) I didn't know about THAT scene in Kramer vs.Kramer.But in no way I'm suggesting that knowing too much about one actor's behaviour or a director wouldn't impact someone about a perception of a film.I'm only saying it shouldn't.Because,cinema is,first and foremost,artifice to me.Like Bazin said,"representation of reality".It's NOT reality.So,I don't want to know about some madman acto'r method to achieve "reality".Really.I need to see that scene again to let you know if will impact me otherwise.Long time not seeing that film.I would probably laugh knowing that now.But I'm sure of this: Hoffmann was a commited douche of method acting.Ragardless of what he did to Streep;did he apologise or not?I'm curious because I 'd found odd he would done that on purpose.And to be clearer about the topic,I HATED Dancer in the Dark for reasons too long to explain here.But Dogville is on my permanent rotation of favorites films ever.Do I know Von Trier is a mysogynistic pig,a fascist or whatever?I do.A provocateur?Sure.Does his personal flaws prevent me from admiring either Dogville or Melancholia?No way.It doesn't work to me that way.Whatever happened on the set of those films concerned to the workers on those films.Bjork did speak out and good for her.I've never heard Kidman,Bacall,Clarkson,etc complain about the Mad Dane work ethics.I can only judge the results.How they'd got to those results shouldn't be a concer of a critic or a moviegoer.That's not implying raising your voice against abuse when it happens It needs to be done.I'm just trying to tell apart the "artifice"from the reality.Reality should be addresed in spite of the art,but it's not fair to put them on the same level.
I'm a jornalist: I wrote plenty of articles I'm proud of on the worst workplace conditions you can imagine.I left the job.My editor was a tyrannic douche.But my readers didn't need to know.It was MY problem.I dealt with it the best way I could.I quit.Looked for another job.
But the articles are very good,no kidding.

b) I'm perplexed.I was sure Tarantino used a stunt for that kind of scenes!Isn't it that NOT obvious?I frankly had no idea!But the actual question is: Didn't the actors or stuntmen (whom are PAID for that)?That's gross.But an actor should be aware of this beforehand.How do you convince Tom Cruise NOT to use a stunt in some of his scenes?There were many artcles addressing that.So many in awe of Tom doing his own stunt stuff,I remember.Didn't no one got aware of how dangerous that was?I can't tell the specificities of an actor's contract.But I thought STUNTS were a given in any risky scenes.Cajoling someone into doing that is atrocious.But I couldn't believe Uma hadn't had her own stunt.Which is a well known proffession and I even think it has its own Guild in America.I prefer to believe Uma on this one.But how Tom Cruise of her to not say NO!It's not a slap in the face,it's your life on risk!

c) I totally agree with you on that one.Powerful people can subvert and,in fact,do.So let the policies ran for the studios!Directors may not be always "employees",but they're less powerful without a distributor (see,Weinstein) I advocate for these implementations.If they don't stick to the rules,there should be punishment.It's the only way I think that can make this abuses accountable.There's the power of the "law",besides speaking out in time.It's a good time to lose the fear,get awake.Just do it.

d) I think I responded that on point A.I must be for you.I will still love Kill Bill in spite of that.I had a curse on Leni Riefenstahl while I was studying potography.The curse had an introduction of who he was.It was not "pleasurable"to know the facts of that depicable human being.So there was no HIIDING who she was here.Her use on lighting on pictures were gorgeous,though;so much it bear an Academic course just for her.She was influential in lots of things.I put her as an extreme example of an artist who served Nazi Propaganda.Could have been any worst human being making art,ever?Don't think so.But I learnt in that course to take the best out of the the worst.And separating art from the artist,tough as it may be.
Which brings me to Inglorious Basterds,a motion picture who destills the inherent violence in Tarantino's film rightfully so.By making a glorious pean to cinema in the proccess.
The "power of cinema".That one who can reinvent history because its aware of the artifice and the cathartic power it's build upon.Same with the last act of Dogville.My fear,Aarkan,is that some films will need the legend at the end credits saying "no actual people were Nazis or not actual human beings were killed in that smalltown".We're just seeing this happening with animals,only.Maybe adding a legend that "not actual actors were harmed and stunts were used in every risky scene"will suffice.Sarcasm aside,I think there's some tools that can be useful for workers in the industry from keeping ugly things happening in real life.
But,to me,the artifice remains the same.Because I know what it is.

February 4,2018 | Unregistered Commenterchofer

@ sick - not all kinds of abuse and not all victims are perpetually powerless,in need of being coddled,and deprived of agency in all past,present and future events.And I say so as someone who's had both sexual and physical assault attempts against me,and I was successful in repealing them,even resorting to physical violence when I had to.

To some degree,yes,you LET people do things to you and you later regret your own lack of resolve,which is partly why many victims feel shame.Uma herself mentions on the piece that she was embarrassed when she slept with an older actor despite not really wanting to that she had relented and had not put up a fight.

And regardless of the abuse she suffered from Harvey in the 90s,by 2004 she was married to Ethan Hawke,had a family with him,was well off financially and would have a career in anything she wanted,given her marquee name.So she had no overwhelming cause to be in a set where people debased her by spitting on her face.

If even the strongest among us don't stand up against abusive behavior,despite having the least to lose,then there is zero chance of it ever changing,since the weakest have genuine fear of retaliation to ever raise concerns.So again,mad props to Ashley Judd for doing the hard thing and refusing to buck under the pressure.

February 4,2018 | Unregistered CommenterCarmen Sandiego


I was scanning the comments,not seeing "names"You sure were one that was pissed off.
I say I understand the angry.I was just calling out to calm down in general,NOT to pick a fight with women.My naming 3BB was a fleeting though that pehaps I have understimated the power of "anger"in spite of my problems with the film.And I meant "a hit"with Guilds and some critics.I know some pople detest that film here.I was one ofmany who was talking against it.

February 4,2018 | Unregistered Commenterchofer

Oh my God you mean Tarantino acted like all crazy film directors in the history of cinema- we gotta to start a # right now!

February 4,2018 | Unregistered Commenterjaragon

Really think you all should take a look at this SHARON STONE interview for The Daily Mail:

her comments sum up how I feel about this subject,quoting the very blunt Ms.Stone:
"You can say "Stop it".You have an opportunity not to participate.I understand that people are intimidated by powerful people,but what are we leveraging ourselves for?Leveraging yourself [for your career] and then being angry about it later – you have to ask yourself what you participated in.What did you want so badly that you were willing to stay through a humiliating experience?"

February 4,2018 | Unregistered CommenterEder Arcas

Really think you all should take a look at this SHARON STONE interview for The Daily Mail:

her comments sum up how I feel about this subject,quoting the very blunt Ms.Stone:
"You can say "Stop it".You have an opportunity not to participate.I understand that people are intimidated by powerful people,but what are we leveraging ourselves for?Leveraging yourself [for your career] and then being angry about it later – you have to ask yourself what you participated in.What did you want so badly that you were willing to stay through a humiliating experience?"

February 4,2018 | Unregistered CommenterEder Arcas

It just never ceases to amaze me how literally every discussion of violence against women anywhere ends (including here!) with at least half of the comments directed against the women.Totally nuts.Like,talk about it other things if you are incapable of having empathy for other people.

Directors like Tarantino can still get work,find defenders,and be praised as geniuses even when they abuse their employees.It's considered "worth it"for their art.The same people who defend him believe that any woman PERCEIVED as willing to trade sex for a part (Ie anyone attractive in Hollywood?!) deserves to be assaulted,is presumed to be a liar,and/or is deservedly shamed from the industry because she "wants it"(a career) too much.It doesn't add up to much other than insane double-standards and,you know,the root of the problem.

Also,citing the UK's Daily Mail is about half a step up from citing the US's National Enquirer or TMZ.Not a good look,especially just to trot out the same-old "slut"-shaming,blame-the-victim nonsense.Ugh

February 5,2018 | Unregistered Commentercatbaskets

The thing is,you can tell someone no,but that's not even a guarantee that they'll stop what they're doing.Weinstein's MOO (method of operation) was to prey on young,unknown actresses who were just getting started in the business by dangling the possibility of a career in their faces,gaining their trust and grooming them;then taking advantage of them and making it clear that if they wanted him to help them with their careers,the price they had to pay was constantly putting up with his harassment all the damn time,and be assaulted by him on top of that.The point is,it's not just the responsibility of women to stop men in the business from being sexual harassers or predators---it's also on men,too,to stop sexually harassing women and making being sexually harrassed a condition of getting employment in the film business,or any other profession in which women have to make a decent living.It's also on men to tell other men to stop doing that,period,and report the sexual harassers,too.That dosen't happen often enough,but it should,as a way to combat sexual harassment,especially in this #MeToo day and age where sexual harrassers are finally getting shamed out of exploiting women like they used to get away with for so long.

February 6,2018 | Unregistered Commentersqueesh

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