On February 3, The New York Times published an op-ed tell-all of the abuse Uma Thurman had to endure from Harvey Weinstein and Quentin Tarantino. According to the article, Thurman claims that Tarantino forced her to do a scene in one of Tarantino’s best films, Kill Bill, despite knowing that the car had issues and it was likely Thurman would obtain a severe injury. This happens after her run-in with Weinstein who sexually assaulted her in a hotel room. While Uma Thurman’s confessions harken back to the Weinstein expose that dominated much of the media in late 2017, it’s not her confessions that I want to touch upon. Even before Thurman came out with this op-ed, she had a brief interview on the red carpet over her play’s Broadway premiere, The Parisian Woman. Uma Thurman’s anger could be seen when asked about the Weinstein debacle, bringing life to the adage “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.” When the interviewer kept pushing Thurman for a response, Thurman remarked how regretful she feels when she talks in anger and stated she has a lot to say about the situation, but she will reserve it for another time. Presumably, the recent New York Times op-ed was the time she talked about.
To set the facts straight, according to the video evidence published on the article, Thurman is visibly injured, and Tarantino runs to her aid and flashes a smile when realizing Thurman is still moving. However, Tarantino failed to feel remorseful after the accident—he permanently injured Uma Thurman for life, which did affect her career and her mental health. Thurman did not get any compensation. However, the media circuit afterward did paint her as a “crazy woman” after her fallout with Tarantino. Thurman’s career trajectory, while not entirely similar, reminds me of the toxic muse-director relationship between Megan Fox and Michael Bay. It is well-known that Megan Fox’s acting career took a dip after Bay removed her from the Transformers franchise. In fact, in Wall Street Journal interview with Bay, he commented “Well, that’s Megan Fox for you. She says some very ridiculous things because she’s 23 years old and she still has a lot of growing to do. You roll your eyes when you see statements like that and think, ‘Okay Megan, you can do whatever you want. I got it.’ But I 100% disagree with her.” It was a polite way of Bay explaining to the media why he is dismissing Megan’s allegations—she’s crazy.
At least in Thurman’s case, she and the public got closure that she is in fact not crazy because Weinstein admitted he assaulted her in a hotel room after his walls came crashing down during #MeToo. However, a woman who is abused in professional and private terms should not need the validity of her abuser to realize she isn’t “crazy.”
It is infuriating that we considered a woman “crazy” for most of her career and only now did her abuser come out and reveal half-heartedly that he did abuse her. Despite her begging to gain access to video that incriminates Tarantino, only now are the perpetrators hanging their head in shame.
If the public can take anything away from toxic muse-director relationships, as exemplified by Thurman and Tarantino or Fox and Bay, it is that the “crazy woman” narrative is not just physically and emotionally harmful, but it can lead to life-long permanent injuries, or ending a young promising actor’s career in ashes.