A former assistant to Harvey Weinstein who signed a non-disclosure agreement before accepting a monetary settlement from the movie mogul has decided enough is enough, breaking her silence about his sexual harassment of her.
Zelda Perkins was one of at least eight alleged victims to reach settlements and sign NDAs with Weinstein related to years of sexual harassment and abuse .
Perkins came forward Monday, telling the Financial Times that Weinstein’s sexual misconduct began the very first day she ended up alone with him while working out of Miramax’s London office.
“He went out of the room and came back in his underwear,” she recalled. “He asked me if I would give him a massage. Then he asked if he could massage me.”
She and a colleague split a roughly $330,000 settlement in October 1998 and signed agreements barring them from going public with their allegations.
“I want to publicly break my non-disclosure agreement,” said Perkins, who now works for the Robert Fox theater production company. “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’ NDA included a donation to a woman’s charity and her demands that Weinstein undergo therapy “for as long as his therapist deems necessary.” Miramax said it would comply with that clause for three years.
The company also promised that it would appoint three “complaint handlers” to investigate any subsequent sexual harassment complaints.
If a complaint was filed against Weinstein within two years of Perkins’ contract and it resulted in either a settlement of either roughly $46,000 or six months’ salary, Miramax would report it to Disney, its then-owner, or fire Weinstein.
It’s unclear whether Miramax fully abided by the terms of Perkins’ NDA.
Perkins was subjected to years of sexual harassment by her boss.
Weinstein, she said, would often walk around the room naked and asked her to be in the room while he bathed.
“This was his behavior on every occasion I was alone with him,” Perkins said. “I often had to wake him up in the hotel in the mornings and he would try to pull me into bed.”
Perkins said her breaking point came after her colleague came forward “white as a sheet and shaking” with similar allegations while the crew was in Venice for a film festival from in September 1998.
“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.”
Perkins said negotiating her NDA was “incredibly distressing” and that she was told it ultimately came down to his word against hers.
“I was very upset because the whole point was that we had to stop him by exposing his behavior,” she said. “I was warned that he and his lawyers would try to destroy my credibility if I went to court. They told me he would try to destroy me and my family.”
Perkins said part of the reason why she publicly came forward now — despite potential legal ramifications — is because NDAs should 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 explained. “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.”
She added, “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.”
This article originally appeared in Page Six.