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Harvey Weinstein’s Former Assistant Breaks NDA, Says He Tried to Rape Colleague in 1998 (Video)

Zelda Perkins tells BBC’s ”Newsnight“ she was threatened by the disgraced mogul ”emotionally and psychologically“ after confronting him about incident she says took place in 1998

After nearly two decades, Harvey Weinstein’s former assistant Zelda Perkins has broken a non disclosure agreement, telling BBC’s “Newsnight” on Tuesday that the disgraced mogul attempted to rape a colleague 19 years ago.

Perkins said that the incident at the 1998 Venice Film Festival left her unnamed colleague in a state of shock, and that she herself was threatened by Weinstein “emotionally and psychologically.”

The colleague did not want to talk to anyone about the attempted rape. But Perkins said that she later confronted Weinstein at Miramax’s offices. “He said nothing at all had happened and he swore on the life of his wife and his children,” Perkins said, “which was his best get-out-of-jail card that he used quite a lot.”

Perkins told BBC that she and her colleague spoke to lawyers about pressing charges, but were told that options were limited because the incident was not reported to Venice police. “Ultimately it would be two under-25-year-old women’s word against Harvey Weinstein, Miramax Film Corporation and, essentially, the Disney Co,” Perkins said.

Instead, Perkins agreed to a £125,000 settlement from Miramax in exchange for signing a non-disclosure agreement. She told BBC that among other conditions, the settlement called for Weinstein to attend therapy and be dismissed from Miramax, and that Miramax establish an HR policy on sexual harassment.

Weinstein was not dismissed though he left to co-found The Weinstein Company in 2005. Perkins said she never received confirmation that any of the other demands were met, and told BBC that Weinstein’s lawyers stalled all inquiries. The experience, she said, left her feeling “”pretty broken and exhausted and so disillusioned.”

“I didn’t have the energy to go on fighting. It was not my obligation to follow up on his obligation.”

Perkins said that she decided to break the non disclosure agreement because she came to see it as an attempt to protect Weinsteins’ standing in Hollywood by buying her silence. Legislators in New York, New Jersey and California have drafted laws prohibiting the use of NDAs in sexual harassment cases, and Perkins wants the U.K. to consider doing the same.

“This is also a question of legal ethics – the Weinstein story has highlighted an area in the law that can cover up sexual crime,”Perkins said: “I understand that non-disclosure agreements have a place in society, and for both sides. But it’s really important that legislation is changed around how these agreements are regulated.”

Perkins also discussed the culture of silence Weinstein built to protect himself with his influence in Hollywood as well as with his domineering personality, which could alternate between charming and bullying people depending on how they responded to his demands. He also did much of his business managing his studios in his hotel rooms, which is why so many of his would-be targets came to his room.

“Harvey, now, everyone sees as this sort of repulsive monster, which he was and is on one hand, but I think what is interesting and what isn’t maybe brought forward is that he was also an extremely exciting, brilliant, stimulating person to be around,” Perkins said.

“With Harvey there was no such word as no and that’s really the crux of the matter.”

Weinstein’s lawyers have continued to deny any and all allegations. Watch a clip of Perkins’ interview in the video below.