A new report details Harvey Weinstein’s widespread use of lifetime nondisclosure agreements to avoid facing repercussions from his sexual assault victims. Actress Rose McGowan, Filipina-Italian model Ambra Battilana Gutierrez and a former Weinstein assistant, Zelda Perkins, all signed such agreements.
When the damning accusations of sexual harassment, assault and rape came out against Harvey Weinstein last month, his brother Bob Weinstein claimed he was unaware what was going on. “I thought he was literally just going out there cheating in a pervasive way,” he told The Hollywood Reporter at the time. “No way. No F-in’ way was I aware that that was the type of predator that he was. And the way he convinced people to do things? I thought they were all consensual situations.”
But here comes Ronan Farrow with a new expose from The New Yorker. The report reveals that some of the payments underwriting Harvey Weinstein’s settlements with accusers actually came from brother Bob’s personal bank account. It was an effort to hide the truth from Miramax and Disney.
For example, a 1990’s case involving Harvey’s former assistant Zelda Perkins saw Bob pay 250,000 pounds — approximately $600,000 today — to be split between two female employees in England who accused Harvey of sexual harassment and assault.
Bob Weinstein has acknowledged the personal payout to The New Yorker, but he claims that he was misled about how the money was being handled (even though the allegations were reported to Miramax). “Regarding that payment, I only know what Harvey told me, and basically, what he said was, he was fooling around with two women and they were asking for money,” he explained. “And he didn’t want his wife to find out, so he asked me if I could write a check, and so I did. But there was nothing to indicate any kind of sexual harassment.”
The report highlights how the use of nondisclosure agreements perpetuates the behavior of repeat offenders while silenced victims are left to suffer. For example, Rose McGowan, who publicly accused Weinstein of having raped her in 1997 at the Sundance Film Festival, reached a $100,000 settlement with Weinstein. It did not include a nondisclosure provision but removed her right to sue Weinstein.
She said that at the time, she wanted to pursue charges against her attacker, but her lawyer instead convinced her to sign the agreement. “That was very painful. … I thought a hundred thousand dollars was a lot of money at the time because I was a kid,” McGowan recalled.
Irwin Reiter, a longtime employee of Weinstein’s had this to say: “[Weinstein] was so dominant that I think a lot of people were afraid of him, afraid to confront him or question him, and that was the environment. A forever N.D.A. should not be legal. People should not be made to live with that. He’s created so many victims that have been burdened for so many years, and it’s just not right.”
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