Zelda Perkins, a former assistant of Harvey Weinstein while he was at Miramax Films, has come forward with her story of sexual harassment by the mogul, breaking her non-disclosure agreement in the process.
Perkins is the first former staffer to break a NDA. In an interview with the Financial Times, Perkins, who worked at Miramax in the 1990s, recounted her experiences with Weinstein and also stated that he assaulted a friend of hers at the Venice Film Festival in 1998.
According to Perkins, Weinstein’s behavior with her echoed that of other women who have come forward. She said he would disrobe in front of her on a regular basis, asking that she give him a massage and watch him take a bath.
“This was his behavior on every occasion I was alone with him. I often had to wake him up in the hotel in the mornings and he would try to pull me into bed,” she said.
Perkins put up with the behavior for years, but eventually decided to take as stand after Weinstein allegedly assaulted her friend. “She was white as a sheet and shaking and in a very bad emotional state. 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.”
Afterwards, the pair consulted Simons Muirhead & Burton, a London-based law firm, who entered into negotiations with international law firm Allen & Overy. According to the Times, both sides settled on £250,000, which was to be split between the two women. They signed their non-disclosure agreements in October 1998.
Perkins emphasized that part of her reason for breaking the NDA was to highlight how “egregious” an arrangement the contracts are.
“I want to publicly break my non-disclosure agreement,” she said. “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. 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.”