Zelda Perkins, a former Miramax London assistant to Harvey Weinstein, broke her silence today about the movie mogul’s sexual harassment of her.
Perkins is one of at least eight alleged victims who reached monetary settlements and had to sign non-disclosure agreements with Weinstein.
Telling her story to the Financial Times, Perkins decided to come forward today and brave potential legal ramifications over breaking her NDA because “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…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.”
“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,” said Perkins.
Perkins recounted that Weinstein’s sexual abuse began on the first day she showed up for work: He would ask for massages, walk around hotel rooms naked and ask to be bathed.
Perkins and a former co-worker split a $330K settlement in October 1998. Their agreements prevented them from going public with their allegations against Weinstein. Perkins’ NDA with Miramax included a number of points, which is unclear if they ever abided by during a three-year period; specifically, the assistant demanded that Weinstein undergo therapy “for as long as his therapist deems necessary.” Miramax also promised that it would appoint three “complaint handlers” to investigate any subsequent sexual harassment complaints.
Perkins decided to take it to Miramax after her co-worker was sexually harassed by Weinstein at the 1998 Venice Film Festival.
Said Perkins, “She told me something terrible had happened. She was in shock and crying and finding it very hard to talk. I was furious, deeply upset and very shocked. I said: ‘We need to go to the police’ but she was too distressed. Neither of us knew what to do in a foreign environment.”