The French cosmetics titan is suing the "Kill Bill" beauty to stop her from trying to sue them for $1 million.
She claims the company is using her old Lancome ads on Asian Web sites and a Canadian billboard without permission.
The company says it’s not at fault.
Thurman, fresh off seeing an obsessed fan locked up this week for stalking her, contends Lancome kept using her ads for the Miracle cosmetics line long after she ceased being the face of the company. She wants a hefty payday for that.
"Look at the huge free benefit Lancome gets from using her," lawyer Bertram Fields said. "The French want to accept that benefit without paying for it."
Sacre bleu! replies Lancome.
It filed suit in Manhattan Supreme Court, saying it never "knowingly or intentionally" used Thurman’s image and that the Web pages were "inadvertently archived" and never meant to be publicly available.
The company wants the court to declare Lancome did not violate Thurman’s contract, and, therefore, she isn’t entitled to any money.
"[Lancome] pulled the pages off as soon as they found out about them," said Peter Raymond, a lawyer for Lancome. "They didn’t even know they were there."
The 38-year-old "Pulp Fiction" star signed on as the face of Lancome in April 2000, earning $5.8 million for the first two years of the deal and $3.1 million, if exercised, for two option years.
The contract expired in 2005.
In a letter to Lancome last week, Fields wrote that "$100,000 is not a reasonable settlement offer or anywhere near a reasonable settlement offer."
"Obviously, the French have decided they won’t even try to resolve this amicably," Fields said. "So they have filed this sneak attack."
Raymond countered that Lancome is "always amenable to settling."
The suit was filed days after a Manhattan jury convicted love-struck ex-mental patient Jack Jordan of stalking and harassing Thurman with rambling letters, e-mails and phone calls.
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