(NEW YORK) — Zelda Perkins was working as Harvey Weinstein’s assistant at Miramax in London in the late ’90s when, she claims, he harassed her and sexually assaulted one of her colleagues.
Those events, she told The Financial Times, ultimately led to a total settlement of £250,000 — more than $330,000 — for herself and a colleague and the signing of non-disclosure agreements that prevented her from ever discussing the situation.
However, Perkins told the publication that she was choosing to violate the agreement to demonstrate how Weinstein covered up his actions and silenced his alleged victims.
“Unless somebody does this, there won’t be a debate about how egregious these agreements are and the amount of duress that victims are put under,” Perkins said. “My entire world fell in because I thought the law was there to protect those who abided by it. I discovered that it had nothing to do with right and wrong and everything to do with money and power.”
A representative for Weinstein did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but told the Financial Times: “The FT did not provide the identity of any individuals making these assertions. Any allegations of nonconsensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein. Mr. Weinstein has further confirmed that there were never any acts of retaliation against any women for refusing his advances.”
According to Perkins, the first time Weinstein harassed her was the first time she was alone with him. At the time, she claimed, he left the room and came back in his underwear, only to ask for a massage and also, if he could reciprocate the act. She also said that he would regularly walk around naked in front of her and asked her to watch him bathe. She says she declined.
“This was his behavior on every occasion I was alone with him,” she said. “I often had to wake him up in the hotel in the mornings and he would try to pull me into bed.”
However, she said she was moved to take legal action after a colleague told her that Weinstein sexually assaulted her during the Venice Film Festival in 1998. Perkins, who said her colleague was too “distressed” to go to the police, added that when she confronted the producer about the allegation, he denied it. Unconvinced, she met with attorneys who advised her to settle with Weinstein. According to Perkins, in addition to the financial settlement, Weinstein also agreed to therapy, and Miramax created a complaints procedure.
The Financial Times added that Perkins does not know if Miramax abided by the terms of the agreement. Perkins also said that she was not permitted to keep a complete copy of the agreement.
Now, she’s advocating for non-disclosure agreements to “be regulated in a fair way.”
“I want to call into question the legitimacy of agreements where the inequality of power is so stark and relies on money rather than morality,” she said. “I want other women who have been sidelined and who aren’t being allowed to own their own history or their trauma to be able to discuss what they have suffered. I want them to see that the sky won’t fall in.”
Over the past few weeks, Weinstein, 65, has been accused by dozens of women of sexual misconduct. His spokesperson told ABC News that the producer, who was first terminated by his eponymous studio and then later resigned from the board, is in treatment, where he will remain for the next month.
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