Court order against Uma Thurman

May 8, 2008 1:05:57 PM PDT
Lancome, the French cosmetics giant, wants the court to tell "Kill Bill" actress Uma Thurman that the company did not violate its contract with her and she is not entitled to the $1 million she has demanded. The company, suing as Lancome Parfuns et Beaute & Cie., filed papers in Manhattan's state Supreme Court saying Thurman has threatened a lawsuit claiming the beauty products titan improperly used her name and picture in advertising.

Lancome's court papers say the "Pulp Fiction" star is complaining her name and face were used on Canadian billboards and Asian Web sites after her contract to help market the company's products had expired.

Thurman and Lancome signed the contract in April 17, 2000. She was one of the company's celebrity faces, and Lancome agreed to pay her $5.8 million for the first two years and $3.1 million for each of two option years, if exercised.

Lancome's court papers, filed Wednesday, say the contract frees the company of responsibility if third parties use her name and face after the contract lapses.

Lancome's lawyer, Peter D. Raymond, said Thursday that his client "can't control everybody out in the world."

Thurman's lawyer, Bertram Fields, said he was surprised by Lancome's lawsuit.

"I thought we were negotiating in good faith," Fields said. "I guess the French decided to strike a pre-emptive blow."

"I'm delighted that the case will go before a jury," Fields continued. "They got an enormous benefit throughout the world after the contract was over, and $1 million doesn't begin to do it."

As for Raymond's claim that a few Internet sites in Asia that advertised Lancome products continued to carry Thurman's photo, Fields complained that "Lancome's own Web site carried her likeness."

Other celebrities who have endorsed products for Lancome or its celebrities include model Carol Alt, actresses Isabella Rossellini, Juliette Binoche, Mena Suvari and Drew Barrymore.