by Graham Pierrepoint
The Harvey Weinstein scandal is unprecedented in almost every single way. Hollywood has perhaps never seen an abuse scandal – nor any scandal in recent history – offer so much widespread condemnation, and with it, revelations. The former movie boss faces multiple accusations of sexual assault and indecent conduct from former staff and even A-list stars – as women from all over Hollywood are braving the media ▶ to go public with stories about incidents they claim to have occurred behind the scenes with the Miramax founder.
The rabbit hole has deepened to an extent now that a former assistant to Weinstein has broken an air-tight confidentiality pact in order to advise that she, too, suffered at the hands of the movie mogul. Zelda Perkins, who previously worked for Weinstein following the signing of a non-disclosure agreement in 1998, has advised the Financial Times in interview that she wished to tear down the NDA ▶ to help expose why such arrangements are made in the first place. She has also bravely chosen to waive her anonymity rights – which Weinstein’s accusers appear to be doing in their droves.
Perkins alleges that Weinstein had engaged in inappropriate behaviour with her whenever they were alone together – with the assistant refusing his suggestions and advances at every turn. “I often had to wake him up in the hotel in the mornings and he would try to pull me into bed,” reveals Perkins. “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.”
Perkins also revealed that she was one such recipient of a settlement shared with another alleged victim of Weinstein’s attentions – and that the NDA she had initially set up with his lawyers had taken days to pore through via an intensive interview process. Perkins’ move is one which is certainly brave – but it may lead the way for more people affected by Weinstein over the years to come forward and tear down such agreements. Law enforcement is currently looking into several claims made regarding sexual harassment and assault involving Harvey Weinstein – with the former movie head having recently been thrown out of his own company, and both British and Hollywood film academies – as a result of the widespread accusations. Quite where it will all end, no one is sure – but it is a scandal that has shaken the film industry ▶ to its core.