Zelda Perkins, a former assistant to disgraced Hollywood film producer Harvey Weinstein at the Miramax office in London, has spoken out about numerous instances when she was sexually harassed by her boss, including times when he asked for and offered massages, made her watch as he took a bath, and tried to pull her into bed.

"This was his behaviour on every occasion I was alone with him," the 44-year-old told FT. She said that her breaking point came when a colleague told her that she had been assaulted by Weinstein during the Venice Film Festival in 1998.

The two sought help from Simons Muirhead & Burton, who advised they seek damages. In negotiations with Allen & Overy, which represented Weinstein, a settlement of £250,000 was agreed and non-disclosure agreements signed.

Perkins, who was 24 years old at the time, said she was not allowed to keep a copy of her NDA. She said that it included certain stipulations that included Weinstein receiving therapy, the appointment of "complaint handlers" to investigate future allegations, and a requirement that the company report any similar complaints that came in within the two years of Perkin's contract to Miramax's then-parent company, Walt Disney Co.

Perkins explained that she initially wanted to expose his actions, but was advised against it. "I wanted to expose him [and] thought that we could go to Disney. But the lawyers were reluctant. They said words to the effect of: 'they are not going to take your word against his with no evidence.'"

"I was very upset because the whole point was that we had to stop him by exposing his behaviour. I was warned that he and his lawyers would try to destroy my credibility if I went to court. They told me he would try to destroy me and my family."

Having broken the NDA, Perkins could now face legal action as well as be made to pay back the settlement amount along with damages and other legal fees. Despite the potential repercussions, she explained that she felt that it was the right thing to do.

"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. I want other women who have been sidelined and who aren't being allowed to own their own history or their trauma to be able to discuss what they have suffered. I want them to see that the sky won't fall in.

"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. My entire world fell in because I thought the law was there to protect those who abided by it. I discovered that it had nothing to do with right and wrong and everything to do with money and power.

"I want other women who have been sidelined and who aren't being allowed to own their own history or their trauma to be able to discuss what they have suffered. I want them to see that the sky won't fall in," she added.

According to FT, a spokesperson for Weinstein said: "Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr Weinstein. Mr Weinstein has further confirmed that there were never any acts of retaliation against any women for refusing his advances."

Harvey Weinstein
Harvey Weinstein denies a majority of the claims against him Getty

Weinstein Company NDAs

Meanwhile, a group of Weinstein Company employees are asking to be released from their NDAs. Their statement made on 19 October can be viewed online, and contains the following:

Statement from Members of the Weinstein Company Staff

We came to work at this company because we love movies. We grew up watching Miramax
films, and came to associate that name, and later the name Weinstein, with great storytelling.
Some of us have been here for years, others for just for a few months. Some have been here
since their first college internship, others joined the team after a rigorous application process. All
of us were excited to get the job, proud to be working for a company with such an illustrious
history.

We all knew that we were working for a man with an infamous temper. We did not know we
were working for a serial sexual predator. We knew that our boss could be manipulative. We did
not know that he used his power to systematically assault and silence women. We had an idea
that he was a womanizer who had extra-marital affairs. We did not know he was a violent
aggressor and alleged rapist.

But to say that we are shocked and surprised only makes us part of the problem.
Our company was built on Harvey's unbridled ambition – his aggressive deal making, his
insatiable desire to win and get what he wanted, his unabashed love for celebrity – these traits
were legendary, and the art they produced made an indelible mark on the entertainment
industry.

But we now know that behind closed doors, these were the same traits that made him a
monster. He created a toxic ecosystem where his abuse could flourish unchecked for decades.
We know that in writing this we are in open breach of the non-disclosure agreements in our
contracts. But our former boss is in open violation of his contract with us – the employees – to
create a safe place for us to work.

We have nothing to hide, and are as angry and baffled as you are at how Harvey's behavior
could continue for so long. We ask that the company let us out of our NDAs immediately – and
do the same for all former Weinstein Company employees – so we may speak openly, and get
to the origins of what happened here, and how.

We unequivocally support all the women who have come forward, many of whom we count
among our own friends and colleagues. Thank you for speaking out. When the New York Times
and The New Yorker articles broke, we wept. We see you, we admire you, and we are in this
fight alongside you.

And while we can only speak for the people represented in this statement, none of us ever
knowingly acted as a so-called "honeypot". That is disgusting and renders us all victims of
Harvey's disgraceful behavior.

Practically none of us have ever met the board. Aside from Bob Weinstein, few of us even knew
their names before last week. If the board's job was to keep Harvey in check, financially and
otherwise, they failed.

As we begin the painful process of reflecting on our industry and the ugly systems we've
wrought and let thrive, we are asking ourselves the question: how do we define abuse? Do we
include verbal degradation, ruthless aggression and physical intimidation? This particular horror
show centers on a sexual predator who abused his power in a very specific way. But if we're
being honest (and if not now, when?) we all know that threatening, hostile, inhumane work
environments are rampant in our industry.

Non-disclosure agreements only perpetuate this culture of silence. The "if you can't stand the
heat, get out of the kitchen" mentality undermines those who might've spoken out. We treat
these abusive people and places as rites of passage, instead of with the disgust they deserve.

Harvey Weinstein is far from the only sociopathic bully we've exalted over the years. Employees
who work under our industry's most notorious bosses are regularly asked to surrender their
dignity in exchange for professional success.

So now that Harvey is gone, what next? If there is a future for this company, it must be one of
radical transparency and accountability. And for that to happen, anyone who had specific
knowledge of non-consensual, predatory behavior must go. That is the only way anyone will feel
comfortable working with us. It is the only way any of us will feel comfortable working here.

To those speaking out, and to those fearlessly reporting: we are so grateful for your courage.
Right now, we want to listen hard and keep listening, no matter how unsettling or overwhelming
these stories are. But after that we must start to ask hard questions of our industry, so we may
do right not only by Harvey's many victims, but also by young film lovers who, like all of us, just
want to work in movies.

- Select Members of The Weinstein Company Staff