Zelda Perkins, Harvey Weinstein’s former assistant who accused him of raping a Miramax colleague 19 years ago, has called for a change in the law around non-disclosure agreements after branding Weinstein a “repulsive monster” and “master manipulator” in her first televised interview.
Perkins told the BBC’s Newsnight tonight that she signed an NDA in 1998 and received £125,000 ($168,000 U.S.) after accusing Weinstein of raping the Miramax staffer at the Venice Film Festival. “We were at the Venice Film Festival and he tried to rape [my colleague]. We returned to the UK and I spoke to my only senior in the Miramax offices and she suggested I got a lawyer so we both resigned from the company, [feeling] constructively dismissed because of his behavior. The lawyers made it clear that we didn’t have many options because we hadn’t gone to the police when we were in Venice and we didn’t have any physical evidence. Ultimately, it would be two under-25 women’s word against Harvey Weinstein, Miramax and essentially the Disney company,” she said.
Perkins added that the NDA included a number of points Weinstein would have to abide by including attending therapy sessions. However, she was never told whether Weinstein did attend therapy and was never allowed to receive a copy of her own NDA.
She said UK authorities need to reverse the laws to prevent this happening to others. “There were a couple of occasions where I made attempts to circumnavigate my agreement, but it was almost impossible for me. You can’t change the Harvey Weinsteins of the world — there are always going to be people that follow the darker side of their character — but if the rules and laws that we have to protect ourselves enable that, there’s no point in having them,” Perkins added.
She admitted that working with the Shakespeare in Love producer could be “extremely exciting.” “Everyone now sees Harvey as this repulsive monster, which he was and is on one hand, but what is interesting and isn’t brought forward is that he was an extremely exciting, brilliant stimulating person to be around. He was a master manipulator and his moods changed very quickly and you never knew if you were his confidante or going to be screamed at.”
Weinstein’s lawyers told the BBC that Weinstein categorically denied engaging in any non-consensual conduct or alleged threatening behavior. Miramax and Disney had no comment on the UK public broadcaster’s interview.