Harvey Weinstein's Former Assistant To Testify Against Crippling Use Of NDAs

Photo: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP/REX/Shutterstock
Harvey Weinstein's former assistant, Zelda Perkins, worked with the disgraced film mogul two decades ago, but her experiences still haunt her to this day. On Wednesday, Perkins testified before the British Parliament's Women and Equalities Committee about Weinstein's history of using non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) to silence women who have accused him of sexual harassment or assault. Her goal, she told the Associated Press on Tuesday, was to encourage lawmakers to make it illegal for people to use NDAs as a way of preventing people from reporting crimes.
Perkins, who started working for Weinstein in her early 20s, told the AP on Tuesday that she signed one such agreement in 1998 after confronting him about allegedly assaulting one of her colleagues in Italy. She's then since broken her NDA to fight for legal and social justice alongside the millions of others supporting the #MeToo and Time's Up movements.
Advertisement
Though Perkins and the other woman contacted authorities and a lawyer back in England, they were told there was not much authorities could do since the alleged attack happened in another country. The experience, she said, "was humiliating and degrading" and made her feel like she "was in the wrong for trying to expose his behaviour."
Perkins walked away with approximately £124,000 and a guarantee that Weinstein would see a therapist of her choosing for at least three years, but she didn't feel like she received any kind of bargain at the time. Instead, she said she was "trapped in a vortex of fear" because Weinstein's legal team allegedly told her they'd hold her legally responsible if anyone close to her "disclosed details of Weinstein's behaviour," including potential therapists who would have to sign their own NDAs.
The threats, intimidation, and humiliation Perkins experienced all sound so eerily similar to the stories dozens of other survivors have shared over the past six months. Weinstein even allegedly used some of the same harassment techniques.
"Everybody knew that he had a roving eye and he pushed it with women," Perkins said, adding that he would occasionally walk around naked or fly off the handle. "I was 22 and I was like, 'OK, this is what it must be like in the big league. This guy is really important — he doesn't have to wear trousers.'"
Though she didn't think Weinstein's actions impacted her much at the time, she now believes that he fundamentally altered her life.
"I think I'm only just beginning to realise what it stole from me," she said, referring to Weinstein and the NDA. "It stole my belief and my confidence in myself and in society."

More from News

Watch

R29 Original Series

Watch Now
Fashion
A look at the subcultures around the world that colour what we wear — and why.
Watch Now
Travel
Explore the world's most vibrant cultural and culinary centres—in 60 seconds, of course.
Watch Now
Beauty
The craziest trends, most unique treatments, and strangest subcultures in the beauty world.
Watch Now
Lifestyle
Millennial survivor-woman Lucie Fink dives headfirst into social experiments, 5 days at a time.