A former assistant for Harvey Weinstein has publicly broken her non-disclosure agreement to share her account of what happened to both her and a female coworker.
Zelda Perkins is a former assistant for the Miramax offices in London who, like many others, experienced harassment at the hands of Weinstein. Perkins recently broke her NDA in an interview with the Financial Times to detail her account.
One of the most important Weinstein articles so far, by his former assistant explaining how NDAs silence women https://t.co/4Tj8hgUqZd— Catherine Mayer (@Catherine Mayer) 1508788904.0
"I want to publicly break my non-disclosure agreement," Perkins 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."
Perkins joins dozens of actresses who have accused Weinstein of harassment, assault, and even rape. But her account sheds some much-needed light on the multitude of women who were is less-powerful positions than Hollywood A-listers.
The NDAs that members of The Weinstein Company staff were forced to sign have come under scrutiny in recent days, with employees requesting to be released from them "so we may speak openly, and get to the origins of what happened here, and how."
Breaks those NDA’s if you can. Let’s find out what really happened. https://t.co/Si0mKBZrwd— Judd Apatow (@Judd Apatow) 1508817131.0
For Perkins, who had suffered harassment from Weinstein in very similar ways that others have alleged (hotel room, massage request, exposing himself, etc.), the last straw came in 1998 when a fellow female colleague confided that Weinstein had sexually assaulted her during the Venice Film Festival.
Harvey Weinstein's former assistant is breaking her 1998 non-disclosure agreement to reveal alleged sexual harassme… https://t.co/mUGI4NODgc— CBS News (@CBS News) 1508844916.0
"She was white as a sheet and shaking and in a very bad emotional state" Perkins recalled. "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."
After seeking counsel from Simons Muirhead & Burton, a London-based lawfirm, the pair were advised to pursue a settlement claim, eventually agreeing to a £250,000 sum that was split between the two women, as well as an NDA.
Perkins wanted to pursue the case further, "but the lawyers were reluctant."
"They said words to the effect of: 'they are not going to take your word against his with no evidence,'" Perkins recounted. "I was very upset because the whole point was that we had to stop him by exposing his behavior. 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."
Weinstein relied on a network of lawyers to help prevent staffers from speaking out about his alleged bad behavior https://t.co/2Bs5OA11Gt— Hollywood Reporter (@Hollywood Reporter) 1508821440.0
By breaking her NDA, Perkins is hoping to shine a light on the struggle many women face when it comes to power dynamics.
"The inequality of power is so stark and relies on money rather than morality," she says. "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."
Many on Twitter are glad Perkins decided to speak up:
@CBSNews Non-disclosure clause silences the victim and protects the accused. #MeToo— Jo thomas (@Jo thomas) 1508853599.0
@CBSNews When will the people made to sign the NDA by Trump break their silence? Eventually one day everything will… https://t.co/HmXp5sgdli— sim b (@sim b) 1508845748.0
@THR Abusive sexual predators like Weinstein usually have all their bases covered — which is why they get away with… https://t.co/oyCo7u41C8— Sandra Macleod White (@Sandra Macleod White) 1508821904.0
@THR Women, victims, yet again doing everybody’s job. She speaks taking huge risks, while men stay silent to keep their privileges.— Ana Zakhya (@Ana Zakhya) 1508823780.0
Perhaps, if others follow her lead, it will lead to some real consequences:
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