Harvey Weinstein's former assistant says she tried to force him into therapy after rape accusation

Harvey Weinstein's former assistant says she tried to stop him abusing women two decades ago, making him sign a legal agreement that required him to seek therapy and mend his ways.

Zelda Perkins quit Weinstein's film company in 1998, along with a colleague who accused the movie mogul of trying to rape her.

As part of a settlement, Perkins signed a non-disclosure agreement. It kept her silent, but also committed Weinstein to attend therapy for three years. And it required the company to spill the beans to its then-owner, the Walt Disney Co., or to fire Weinstein if he made any more payouts over alleged wrongdoing.

Perkins said her hope was to "create protection for people in the future."

Under the terms of the agreement, Perkins chose the therapist Weinstein was to consult. She doesn't know whether he ever went to the sessions.

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"I have no idea if any of the obligations were upheld," Perkins told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

She said that a year after she left the company she ran into Weinstein at the Cannes Film Festival, and "he told me that everything I had done was pointless."

Perkins is due to testify tomorrow before the British Parliament's Women and Equalities Committee, which is investigating sexual harassment and the use of non-disclosure agreements, or NDAs. Conservative lawmaker Maria Miller, who chairs the committee, says there are concerns the gag orders might be used to "mask the scale of this problem."

NDAs are common in the corporate world, but Perkins says her experience shows they can be used to let perpetrators get away with wrongdoing while silencing their victims.

The agreement Perkins signed kept her quiet about Weinstein's behaviour for almost 20 years. He continued to be one of Hollywood's most powerful producers until last fall, when women — including Hollywood stars — publicly accused him of groping, exposing himself to them or forcing them into unwanted sex.

Weinstein has since been fired by the company he co-founded and expelled by Hollywood's film academy. Police in the US and Britain are investigating multiple claims of sexual assault.
Weinstein denies all allegations of nonconsensual sex.

Perkins was in her early 20s and says he had barely heard of Weinstein when she began working for his then-company, Miramax, in London. She says he was a challenging employer.

"Everybody knew that he had a roving eye and he pushed it with women," she said. He also had a fearsome temper, and didn't respect usual office boundaries, sometimes walking around naked or in his underwear.

"I was 22 and I was like, 'OK, this is what it must be like in the big league,'" Perkins said. "This guy is really important — he doesn't have time to wear his trousers."

Perkins says she wasn't aware of any allegations of sexual assault until a younger colleague came to her in distress during the 1998 Venice Film Festival and said Weinstein had tried to rape her. The pair flew back to England and went to lawyers, "with the presumption that we were going to prosecute him in court."

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Told they could not prosecute in England because the alleged crime took place in Italy, the two women ended up negotiating an agreement that saw each receive 125,000 pounds (now $177,000).

While Perkins managed to get the agreement to impose conditions on Weinstein, she said the negotiating process "was humiliating and degrading. I was made to feel like I was in the wrong for trying to expose his behaviour."

She was told she would be held responsible if her family or friends disclosed details of Weinstein's behaviour. She couldn't see a therapist unless the therapist also signed a non-disclosure agreement. Perkins was not even allowed to have a copy of the agreement she had signed.

Perkins said the experience left her "trapped in a vortex of fear."

After a couple of job interviews in Britain where people "presumed that I'd been his girlfriend," Perkins she left Britain for several years. She now works as a theatre producer in the UK.

"I think I'm only just beginning to realise what it stole from me," Perkins said of her experience with Weinstein — and his lawyers. "It stole my belief and my confidence in myself and in society."

She plans to urge the British lawmakers to tighten up rules so that NDAs can't be used to silence reporting of crime.

Perkins says the Me Too and Time's Up movements against harassment and inequality which have erupted in the wake of the Weinstein revelations have made her feel "hugely liberated."

"It's given me a faith back in society, and huge motivation to actually join in society and do something about it," she said.

"The fact that Harvey was the beginning of this snowball, to me, is just completely thrilling."

Source: Associated Press/1 NEWS composite



Jennifer Lawrence hints at future career in politics

Jennifer Lawrence has hinted she's keen to move into politics and is always interested in furthering her knowledge.

The Hunger Games actress admitted it is a subject she is very "passionate" about and she's keen to learn more about the subject.

She said: "I think being outspoken and having a passion for justice is part of my make-up. As I have gotten older, my passion grew into politics."

Asked if it's a career option, she added: "Acting is always going to be my first passion but I'm incredibly passionate about politics. I'm always educating myself."

Jennifer is currently working with Represent.Us, an anti-corruption campaign focusing on stopping political bribery and fixing broken elections and it's a subject she cares deeply about.

She said: "Everything that I care about falls under the wide net of political corruption."

The 28-year-old actress caused a stir in 2014 when she wrote an essay about Hollywood's gender pay gap and she felt it was very important for her to speak up about the issue.

Lawrence detailed what she called a "degrading and humiliating" experience early in her career.

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Meghan Markle reveals touching tribute to Prince Harry she had secretly stitched into wedding dress

Meghan Markle's "something blue" at her wedding was a piece of fabric from the dress she wore on her first date with Prince Harry, which she had stitched into her veil.

The Duchess of Sussex used fabric from the dress she wore on her first date with Prince Harry in her wedding veil.

The former Suits actress - who was known as Meghan Markle before she wed the prince in May - had a square of fabric stitched into the stunning 16ft accessory as her "something blue" for good luck on her big day.

In a clip from the upcoming documentary Queen of the World, Meghan could be seen looking at her veil as she said: "Somewhere in here there's a piece of blue fabric that's stitched inside -- it was my something blue.

"It's fabric from the dress that I wore on our first date."

Meghan - who alongside Harry works as an ambassador for the Commonwealth Trust - had the flowers which represent all 53 countries in the Commonwealth stitched into her veil and she admitted it was very "important" for her to do that because of her new role.

She said: "I'm really over the moon to find out that I would make this choice for our day together.

"And I think the other members of the family had a similar reaction and just appreciation for the fact that we understand how important this is for us and the role that we play, and the work that we're going to continue to do within the Commonwealth countries.

"It was good news all around, I think, so I hope people like it as much as I liked helping to create it."

Harry previously admitted he was "incredibly grateful" to have Meghan alongside him in his Commonwealth Trust work.

He said earlier this year: "In my new role, I will work to support The Queen, my father The Prince of Wales, and my brother William, all of whom know that young people are the answer to the challenges of today.

"I am also incredibly grateful that the woman I am about to marry, Meghan, will be joining me in this work, of which she too is hugely excited to take part in."

We crossed live to Windsor Castle to our European Correspondent Joy Reid for all the latest following the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
Source: 1 NEWS

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Cher felt like an 'outsider' when she was growing up

Cher says she has always felt like an outsider and it gives her empathy towards others.

The 72-year-old performer has gone on to find huge success in the music and acting worlds but admitted that the feeling of not belonging has never left her.

Speaking to Australia's Courier Mail's Confidential, she confessed: "I felt like an outsider when I was growing up. I didn't really fit in. I didn't really want to try to fit in.

"You never really forget it, no matter how successful you become. No matter what, you always have empathy and know what it is like to feel different."

Meanwhile, Cher recently admitted she has "never been a huge Cher fan", despite being one of the music industry's best-known talents.

Asked to recall when she started to feel confident as a singer, she confessed: "I never feel confident. Off and on, I've felt good about my singing. But I've never been a huge Cher fan. I like doing it more than hearing it. So except for a couple of albums..."

Asked to name her best Cher album, she told The New York Times newspaper: "It's probably between 'Believe' and a highly underrated album called 'Closer to the Truth'. There's not a bad cut on either one of them.

"I've made millions of albums, and most of them are absolutely no good. But some of them aren't bad."

By contrast, Cher finds acting to be a straightforward challenge and says working in a film studio is easier than performing on a stage.

This week SUNDAY sits down for an exclusive interview with Cher – the singer, movie star, fashion icon and political activist.
Source: Sunday


Watch: First glimpse of Joaquin Phoenix turning into Joker for new film

Principal photography has begun on Warner Bros. Pictures Joker movie starring Oscar nominee Joaquin Phoenix in the title role.

He will be appearing alongside Oscar winner Robert De Niro in a film directed, produced and co-written by Oscar nominee Todd Phillips.

Phillips released sneak peak footage of Phoenix turning into Joker via an Instagram video today.

The thespian will hope to match the late Heath Ledger's iconic take on the villain in The Dark Knight.

The film is scheduled for release in the US on October 4, 2019.

Joaquin Phoenix as Arthur Fleck in the upcoming Joker film.