In the late '90s, Zelda Perkins was Harvey Weinstein's assistant, and she recalls the man as "extremely exciting, brilliant, stimulating"—and a "repulsive monster" and "power addict." Perkins signed a non-disclosure agreement in 1998 and was paid $168,000 over an incident involving Weinstein, and tells BBC's Newsnight it was stiflingly strict. She first recounts that she "had one warning" upon taking the job, and "that woman really saved my honor, because actually being warned is very important because it arms you. All she had said to me is, 'Don't ever sit on the sofa next to him. And always keep your puffer jacket on.' ... It meant that I was ready when he did start behaving badly, and it also meant that I wasn't as frightened, because I knew that it had happened to other people." What happened to someone else is what led to her NDA: She alleges he tried to rape a colleague at the Venice Film Festival.
Once back in the UK she spoke with a Miramax superior who advised her to get a lawyer. She resigned, and expected "criminal proceedings" would follow. But "the lawyers made it very clear that we didn’t have many options. ... Ultimately, it would be two under-25 women's word against Harvey." She describes the NDA process as an "intense experience" that ultimately barred her from even discussing her time as Weinstein's employee, talking to her accountant about the payment, or speaking to a therapist without that person signing a confidentiality agreement. She said over the last 19 years she made "attempts to circumnavigate my agreement, however, it was almost impossible for me because one of the clauses of the agreement disallows me to have a copy of it." In her view, that was so she couldn't hold Weinstein accountable to its terms, which specified things like "he will be dismissed ... if anyone makes a complaint in the ensuing period."