A former assistant of Harvey Weinstein, Zelda Perkins, has broken a non-disclosure agreement to allege that she experienced sexual harassment while working for him.
Perkins, who worked at Miramax in the ’90s at the company’s London office, tells the Financial Times that Weinstein “had a need to annihilate and humiliate men...but with women it was all about seduction and submission.”
Perkins describes experiences with Weinstein that align with the stories from other actresses and models who’ve been alleging misbehavior on Weinstein’s part in the past few weeks. Perkins says when she was first alone with him he left the room and came back in his underwear asking for her to give him a massage. Then, she says he asked if he could give her a massage, which she declined. Perkins also says he would often walk around the room naked and ask her to be in the room while he took a bath.
“But this was his behaviour on every occasion I was alone with him,” Perkins says. “I often had to wake him up in the hotel in the mornings and he would try to pull me into bed.”
While staying at the Excelsior Hotel in September, 1998 for the Venice Film Festival, Perkins says a colleague approached her and told her Weinstein had assaulted her. “She was white as a sheet and shaking and in a very bad emotional state. She told me something terrible had happened,” Perkins told the Financial Times. “She was in shock and crying and finding it very hard to talk.”
After confronting Weinstein about the incident, he denied the allegation to Perkins, she says. Speaking with lawyers upon returning to London, they advised her to do a damages agreement. The two women were eventually given £250,000, split between them, and Perkins gave her law firm a “list of demands aimed at controlling his behavior.”
She says she asked for a human resources complaints procedure at Miramax for women reporting sexual harassment which included the demand that the company hire three “complaint handlers,” settlements for people bringing the complaints, and therapy for Weinstein.
But while these demands were written into the agreement, the Financial Times reports that it is unclear whether or not Miramax ever fully honored them. Now, Perkins says, she wants to focus on changing the process of creating confidential agreements. “I’m not saying that they shouldn’t exist. But they need to be regulated in a fair way.”
The full report is a harrowing look at internal workings of Miramax, and you should read it here.