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Harvey Weinstein’s former assistant rips the “morally lacking” NDA he had her sign

Perkins has said Weinstein harassed her for years, asking her to massage him and attempting to pull her into his bed.

Zelda Perkins, a former assistant to Harvey Weinstein, told British lawmakers Wednesday that a non-disclosure agreement she signed after leaving the movie mogul’s company two decades ago was a "morally-lacking agreement on every level.”

In her testimony in a House of Commons committee hearing investigating sexual harassment in the workplace, Perkins denounced the use of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) to silence people who try to blow the whistle on predators.


“There is clearly a place for the mutually beneficial use of NDAs in many cases. But it is also very clear that intense scrutiny of the legal practice around NDAs is necessary and rigorous regulation that protects the vulnerable and creates parity of negation in these cases,” Perkins said in written testimony submitted before the hearing. “What concerns me and I hope concerns this committee is the abusive use of NDAs to cover up criminality or other serious wrongdoing.”

Perkins signed an NDA after leaving the London office of Weinstein’s company Miramax in 1998, after a female colleague told her that Weinstein had attempted to sexually assault her. She broke that NDA for the first time in nearly two decades in October, when Perkins told the Financial Times that Weinstein had also sexually harassed her for years, asking her to massage him, walking around naked in his underwear, and attempting to pull her into his bed when she would wake him up at hotels.

Read: Harvey Weinstein allegedly had female employees inject him with erectile dysfunction shots

Perkins and her female colleague, who remains unnamed, signed NDAs and received a lump sum of £250,000 after lawyers told them that no one would believe their word against Weinstein’s, Perkins said. Those NDAs forbid either of them from sharing their stories — even with healthcare professionals, such as therapists, unless those professionals also signed NDAs. Perkins was not allowed to even own a copy of the NDA.


“It’s a morally lacking agreement on every level,” Perkins told the committee during the hearing. “There are clauses in there that preclude me and my colleague from not only speaking to our friends, colleagues, family about our time at Miramax and what happened but also to any medical practitioner, any legal representative, the Inland Revenue, an accountant, a financial adviser.”

Perkins said she had also negotiated for several conditions that she hoped would curb Weinstein’s behavior, like a requirement that his behavior be disclosed to Disney, which owned Miramax at the time, if someone else accused him of sexual misconduct.

Read: Stormy Daniels must pay $1 million every time she violates her NDA

Those conditions were never met, Perkins said.

“I felt that I was left with no option other than to leave the U.K. and attempt to reconstruct a life somewhere where I would not be in danger of breaching the contract and may find gainful employment in a different area,” Perkins, who is now a theater producer in the U.K., said in her written testimony. “I believe that this evidence provides a good example of the onerous way NDAs can be manipulated legally by those with power and money to continue abuse of the powerless.”

Weinstein continues to deny all allegations of nonconsensual sex and of retaliation against women who refused his advances. Weinstein, Miramax, and Disney all declined to give evidence at the hearing, according to the committee’s chair.

Cover image: Zelda Perkins, former assistant to Harvey Weinstein, giving evidence to the Women and Equalities Committee at the House of Commons on the subject of sexual harassment in the workplace, Wednesday March 28, 2018. (Press Association via AP Images)