Zelda Perkins, Harvey Weinstein’s former assistant who accused him of raping a Miramax colleague 19 years ago, has called for a change in the law around non-disclosure agreements after branding Weinstein a “repulsive monster” and “master manipulator” in her first televised interview.
Perkins told the BBC’s Newsnight tonight that she signed an NDA in 1998 and received £125,000 ($168,000 U.S.) after accusing Weinstein of raping the Miramax staffer at the Venice Film Festival. “We were at the Venice Film Festival and he tried to rape [my colleague]. We returned to the UK and I spoke to my only senior in the Miramax offices and she suggested I got a lawyer so we both resigned from the company, [feeling] constructively dismissed because of his behavior. The lawyers made it clear that we didn’t have many options because we hadn’t gone to the police when we were in Venice and we didn’t have any physical evidence. Ultimately, it would be two under-25 women’s word against Harvey Weinstein, Miramax and essentially the Disney company,” she said.
Perkins added that the NDA included a number of points Weinstein would have to abide by including attending therapy sessions. However, she was never told whether Weinstein did attend therapy and was never allowed to receive a copy of her own NDA.
She said UK authorities need to reverse the laws to prevent this happening to others. “There were a couple of occasions where I made attempts to circumnavigate my agreement, but it was almost impossible for me. You can’t change the Harvey Weinsteins of the world — there are always going to be people that follow the darker side of their character — but if the rules and laws that we have to protect ourselves enable that, there’s no point in having them,” Perkins added.
She admitted that working with the Shakespeare in Love producer could be “extremely exciting.” “Everyone now sees Harvey as this repulsive monster, which he was and is on one hand, but what is interesting and isn’t brought forward is that he was an extremely exciting, brilliant stimulating person to be around. He was a master manipulator and his moods changed very quickly and you never knew if you were his confidante or going to be screamed at.”
Weinstein’s lawyers told the BBC that Weinstein categorically denied engaging in any non-consensual conduct or alleged threatening behavior. Miramax and Disney had no comment on the UK public broadcaster’s interview.
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‘Antebellum’ has a ‘Get Out’ vibe, but doesn’t live up to its twist
“Antebellum” is built around a provocative twist, and it’s a good one — as well as one that definite..
“Antebellum” is built around a provocative twist, and it’s a good one — as well as one that definitely shouldn’t be spoiled even a little. Once that revelation is absorbed, however, the movie becomes less distinctive and inspired, reflecting an attempt to tap into the zeitgeist that made “Get Out” a breakthrough, without the same ability to pay off the premise.
Originally destined for a theatrical run, the movie hits digital platforms trumpeting a “Get Out” pedigree in its marketing campaign, since there’s an overlap among the producing teams.
More directly, the film marks the directing debut of Gerard Bush + Christopher Renz, who have championed social-justice issues through their advertising work. The opening script features a quote from author William Faulkner, whose intent will eventually become clearer: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”
If that sounds like a timely means of drawing a line from the horrors of slavery to the racism of today, you’ve come to the right place.
The story begins on a plantation, where the brutal overseers carry out grisly punishments against those tilling the fields. A few have just tried to escape, led by Veronica (Janelle Monae), and they pay a heavy price for their resistance, which does nothing to curb her defiance.
Also written by Bush + Renz, the script take too long before revealing what makes “Antebellum” different, but the middle portion — a “The Twilight Zone”-like phase when it’s hard to be sure exactly what’s going on — is actually the film’s strongest. (Even the trailer arguably gives away too much, so the less one knows, the better.)
The final stretch, by contrast, veers into more familiar thriller territory, and feels especially rushed toward the end, leaving behind a host of nagging, unanswered questions. That provides food for thought, but it’s also what separates the movie from something like “Get Out,” which deftly fleshed out its horror underpinnings.
Although the filmmakers (in a taped message) expressed disappointment that the movie wasn’t making its debut in theaters, in a strange way, the on-demand format somewhat works in its favor. In the press notes, Bush says the goal was “to force the audience to look at the real-life horror of racism through the lens of film horror. We’re landing in the middle of the very conversations that we hoped ‘Antebellum’ would spur.”
“Antebellum” should add to that discussion, so mission accomplished on that level. Monae is also quite good in her first leading film role (she did previously star in the series “Homecoming’s” second season), but otherwise, most of the characters remain underdeveloped.