Zelda Perkins: Paid to Keep Quiet About Weinstein

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Who is Zelda Perkins and what was her connection to Harvey Weinstein? Why did she keep silent about what was happening behind the closed doors of the Weinstein company?

Zelda Perkins is Harvey Weinstein’s former personal assistant who worked at his office in London. In 1988, she resigned from the company and attempted to sue Weinstein for sexual misconduct. However, her attorneys advised her against it.

Read more about why Zelda Perkins never brought her accusations to court.

Zelda Perkins on Harvey Weinstein

Zelda Perins had worked for Weinstein in London in the late 1990s. In her interview with investigative reporter Ronan Farrow, she said that Weinstein’s problematic behavior was clear from the start. She said that Weinstein would often appear naked around her and would try to pull her into bed when he summoned her for meetings at his hotel. Perkins was also wracked with guilt over her own complicity in Weinstein’s crimes, claiming that she enabled his abuse of other women by acting as a “honeypot”—luring women into her boss’ private quarters for liaisons which she knew would result in non-consensual sexual contact.

In 1998, Zelda Perkins hired an assistant of her own. She warned the female applicants about Weinstein’s behavior and even rejected candidates that she deemed to be too attractive, in the hopes of minimizing the likelihood of abuse. She ultimately hired Rowena Chiu, a young graduate from the University of Oxford. 

In September 1998, a tearful and shaken Chiu told Perkins that Weinstein had attempted to rape her in his hotel room at the Hotel Excelsior in Venice. Believing her employee, Perkins immediately confronted Weinstein, who furiously denied any wrongdoing. Outraged, Perkins and Chiu resigned from Miramax and notified their now-former employers that they would be pursuing legal action against Weinstein and the company.

The London-based attorneys hired by the two women, however, strongly advised their clients against bringing the matter to court and instead urged them to reach a settlement out of court. In the end, both Zelda Perkins and Rowena Chiu agreed to accept a payment of £250,000, split between the two (“blood money,” as Perkins later characterized it) in exchange for signing an NDA which forbade the two from ever going public with their experiences.

Zelda Perkins: Paid to Keep Quiet About Weinstein

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Like what you just read? Read the rest of the world's best book summary and analysis of Ronan Farrow's "Catch and Kill" at Shortform .

Here's what you'll find in our full Catch and Kill summary :

  • How Ronan Farrow uncovered rampant sexual abuse and assault by Harvey Weinstein
  • How NBC tried to intimidate Farrow into killing the Weinstein story
  • How the media and legal systems let Weinstein's abuse continue for decades

Darya Sinusoid

Darya’s love for reading started with fantasy novels (The LOTR trilogy is still her all-time-favorite). Growing up, however, she found herself transitioning to non-fiction, psychological, and self-help books. She has a degree in Psychology and a deep passion for the subject. She likes reading research-informed books that distill the workings of the human brain/mind/consciousness and thinking of ways to apply the insights to her own life. Some of her favorites include Thinking, Fast and Slow, How We Decide, and The Wisdom of the Enneagram.

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