Harvey Weinstein’s former assistant has cast off the veil of silence to speak out against her former boss, whom she calls a “repulsive monster.”
Zelda Perkins broke a confidentiality agreement that she signed to talk about how she spent the last two decades in silence, distressing over her inability to say or do anything about the disgraced Hollywood mogul.
Perkins, who worked for Miramax Films under Weinstein in the 1990s, says she resigned after a colleague accused the alleged rapist of attempted rape—a claim Weinstein denies. Perkins told BBC Newsnight that she signed a non-disclosure agreement with Weinstein not keep her lips sealed and was given around $168,000 as a settlement.
The contract prevented her from saying anything about the allegations, which she broke on Tuesday night for the interview.
Perkins went into detail about Weinstein’s domineering personality, and said that he had a “habit of behaving inappropriately.” She said confronting Weinstein about the allegations left her traumatized. “The last 20 years have been distressing, where I’ve not been allowed to speak, where I’ve not been allowed to be myself,” said Perkins. “Although the process that I went through was legal, it was immoral.”
Weinstein’s lawyers denied Perkins’ claim to the BBC, stating that the disgraced producer “categorically denies in any non-consensual conduct or alleged threatening behavior.”
Describing the mogul as a “brilliant and stimulating person to be around,” who was prone to constant mood swings, Perkins also called him a “master manipulator.” She said that her former boss was unable to take “no” for an answer.
“With Harvey, there was no such word as ‘no,’” she said. “I don’t think he’s a sex addict. He’s a power addict.”
Perkins said that when she first took the job with Weinstein, another woman warned her about his behavior, advising her not to sit on couches with him and to choose a single-seat armchair so he wouldn’t have the opportunity to make unwanted sexual advances. The former Weinstein assistant said she would later give other women the same advice, but she was under the false impression that they were safe because she had personally never felt physically threatened by the producer.
“I was wrong,” she said.
Perkins said she pulled the producer out of a business meeting after her female colleague came to her in shock about how Weinstein attempted to rape her. Weinstein denied the incident, but it was enough for her to quit and leave the film industry.
She told the BBC that her lawyers advised her to settle with Weinstein because she “didn’t have very many options” for take legal action against him. She added that the experience broke her—until she was finally able to speak out during the #MeToo movement.
Since the New York Times reported in October about the sexual harassment and assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein, dozens of women who met with him or worked under him have come forward with accusations of harassment, assault, and rape spanning over decades.
It is unknown if Weinstein will pursue action against Perkins for breaching the confidentiality agreement that forced her silence for 20 years.
Source: DANGEROUS, BBC Newsnight.
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