British former assistant of Harvey Weinstein says she was paid £125,000 to keep quiet

British former assistant of Harvey Weinstein says she was paid £125,000 to keep quiet

On October 5 2017, the New York Times released a story detailing decades of sexual harassment allegations against Harvey Weinstein, and what followed has been one of the biggest stories of 2017.  Initially there were only a couple of allegations aimed at Weinstein, from the likes of Rose McGowan and Ashley Judd, however, as the story unfolded, more than 50 women have come forward.

Now, a British former assistant to Harvey Weinstein has spoken out about the lengths that the movie mogul went to in order to keep her quiet, after she accused him of sexual harassment.

Zelda Perkins told the Financial Times that she signed a non-disclosure agreement after making the allegations in 1998. Perkins says that she was asked to give Weinstein massages and that he tried to pull her into bed. She goes on to say that she "was made to feel ashamed for disclosing his behaviour".

According to Perkins, she reported her allegations after another female colleague said that she had also been sexuallly harrassed by the disgraced film producer. The two women sought damages and were both paid £125,000 and made to sign a non-disclosure agreement, which prohibited them from discussing the allegations.

Ms Perkins is aware that by breaking the agreement, she could now be liable to repay the settlement and potentially have to pay damages, but she isn't bothered by that.

"I want to publicly break my non-disclosure agreement.

"Unless somebody does this there won't be a debate about how egregious these agreements are and the amount of duress that victims are put under."

According to Ms Perkins, Weinstein would get her in his hotel rooms alone, and ask that she massage him while he was in his underwear. Her testimony regarding the abuse is similar to that of a number of different Hollwood actresses with Lupita Nyong'o and Gwyneth Paltrow also claiming that Weinstein suggested they massage him in his bedroom and hotel room respectively.

Ms Perkins also alleges that she would have to wake up the mogul in the morning, and that "he would try and pull me into bed".

Weinstein has acknowledged that his actions have "caused a lot of pain" and has apologised for the way he has "behaved with colleagues in the past". However, he also says that many of the accusations that have been aimed at him are "patently false" and in a statement to the FT, the movie mogul said he had "confirmed that there were never any acts of retaliation against any women for refusing his advances".

Perkins is one of many women who have come forward and accused Weinstein of inappropriate behaviour. Actress Rose McGowan claimed that she reached a $100,000 settlement with Weinstein in 1997 after an alleged incident in a hotel room at the Sundance Film Festival.

Due to the amount, and the severity, of the allegations against the 65-year-old, criminal investigations have now been opened in London, Los Angeles and New York. He is also under civil rights investigation in New York State.