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  • hello from the Financial Times in London.

  • I'm Police Clark, and this is news in focus where we offer our insights into the stories that matter.

  • It's nearly two years to the day since The New York Times and The New Yorker published explosive reports revealing that more than a dozen women had accused Harvey Weinstein, the Hollywood producer, off sexual assault and other crimes over a period of a least 30 years.

  • Scandal triggered the me to movement, and Mr Weinstein, co founder of the Miramax Entertainment Group, is now awaiting trial on rape and other sex crime charges, all of which he denies.

  • Ruin A.

  • Chu is a former Miramax employees who kept quiet about her experiences with Mr Weinstein until a month ago.

  • She's here with me now, along with the FT is legal correspondent K P L.

  • E.

  • And Ryan is going to tell her story and explain how a non disclosure agreement forced her to remain silent for more than 20 years and why she's decided to speak out now.

  • Romana, let's start at the beginning and tell us a little bit about your life before you met Harvey Weinstein.

  • So in 1998 I had only graduate from university two years previously.

  • Eso really working for Harvey was my first or second job out of college.

  • And what had you been studying in college?

  • I read English language and literature at Oxford.

  • And how come you decided to get into the film industry?

  • So it Oxford.

  • I did a great deal of film and theatre.

  • Um, I work in theater for a short while, but film seemed tohave more long term prospects.

  • And so I ended up international Creative Management, which is one of Hollywood's big talent agencies.

  • And it was from I C.

  • M that I was recruited to work for Harvey's office here in London, here in London.

  • And so you started working for him in 1998 in Miramax.

  • Is officers here?

  • That's right.

  • Uh, and you'd actually be warned, I think, by Zelda Perkins.

  • One of Mr Weinstein's assistance here in London that he could be a bit of a pest, and he was someone to look out for.

  • Is that right?

  • Right.

  • So I think that I have my interview with Zelda.

  • She had said that he was difficult to manage on that I was the handle him robustly on.

  • I think it is important to stress that, you know, pretty much every boss in the film industry is difficult to manage, whether man or woman.

  • So I, uh I didn't feel deterred by the fact that he would be hard to manage.

  • I think that's Ah, sort of part of the no business of being an assistant in the film industry.

  • It wasn't particularly clear how much that difficulty is to do with temper and how much of it was to do with sexual predator ation.

  • Um, and obviously that became unfortunate.

  • Quite clear later.

  • Okay, So you started working for him in 98.

  • And what specifically was the role?

  • Um, I was also an assistant, Charlie Weinstein.

  • Both Zelda and I were assisting him and I was learning the job from Zelda.

  • So I was in effect, a second assistant.

  • It is that it was our role when Harvey came over to London and then traveled across Europe to accompany him.

  • I'm either on to film festivals most typically, but also if films were shooting cross your we would also do that kind of travel.

  • And then the times in between when he was in the U.

  • S.

  • Or elsewhere in the world.

  • We would be back at the office working on general office work.

  • Azzan reading scripts on dhe general work from Miramax.

  • Yeah.

  • And so when you first met him, how did he seem to you?

  • He is certainly right from beginning.

  • Very difficult to handle.

  • Um, he Ah, When I first met Harvey, it was at a screening room in Soho where we were looking at, Ah, most recent version of Shakespeare in love.

  • Um, certainly.

  • It's not like a typical encounter with the boss.

  • As in, there are no pleasantries.

  • Hey, doesn't come to you.

  • Say hi.

  • I'm Harvey Weinstein, and I hear your Romeo in joining my office.

  • Really?

  • I was asked to ah, you know, do exactly what he asked me to do on.

  • So I tell a story about how we sat in a screening room and he asked me to sit in front of him, and that was really my sort of audition, as it were for working for Harvey.

  • Because what happened?

  • Well, it's, uh he asked me to sit in front of him during the screening on, um if I were to move in any way from sitting in front of him, he would yell at me, abusive of entry.

  • Um, but then you went to the Venice Film Festival and tell us what happened there.

  • The next month, I traveled to the Venice Film Festival on the Dove Il Film Festival, and we did the two festivals back to back.

  • Um, it's a fairly typical trip with Harvey.

  • You got a call from New York saying he's on his way, and your west off by limousine and private Jet Andi essentially as his assistant.

  • You do what you can to facilitate his time while he's there.

  • So that come your phone calls and organizing meetings and making sure that the flow in and out of the office, which is the same as the hotel room suite, is smooth, eh?

  • So that's really the job of the assistant, Um, on the night in question.

  • Ah, typically, what happens is elder being the more senior of the two Assistance would wake Harvey in the morning and work with him in the morning from about 6 a.m. To about 10 a.m. on her own.

  • And then I would come on duty on we would work together during the business of the day, which is typically from about 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. So it's a long day in the evening.

  • I would remain back at the hotel, which also doubled as our office reading scripts, sorting out paperwork, lining up calls and things like that and sell that would accompany him to the events of that evening.

  • Beer, too, did a dinner or a gardener or an award ceremony.

  • Okay, um so tells what happened on, um at the moment when he made some really quite extraordinary advances towards you.

  • What?

  • I think it is fairly typical off.

  • Ah, assistance Life that you stay back in the hotel.

  • I had read some of the scripts, eh?

  • So when he got back from the dinner or the event, he would ask which scripts I had read and for my thoughts on those scripts.

  • And so we will spend a lot of the evening discussing the content of the scripts and what I thought was strong on what I thought was no particularly strong on that segue wade into more general discussions about my ambitions for being in the film industry, you know, at that time was just starting out in films, that he would talk a lot about the things that I'd want to do with my life and film.

  • And some of that would Segway into personal details is dead.

  • Who I was dating, who my boyfriend was at the time, what his aspirations were, and so on and so forth.

  • And so I think you know, there's a process where some of the discussion is professional and to do with the work that I was, therefore, which is assessing scripts and you know, fairly quickly the conversation turns to personal on dhe and also physical because, you know, as we all know, from the various accounts of things that have happened to people in different hotel rooms, there are requests for massages.

  • Harvey is frequently naked in these types of situations on, you know, it can become unpleasant and difficult quite quickly.

  • And was he naked when you were in the hotel room?

  • Yes.

  • So did you just arrive?

  • Walk in the door and I'm already in the hotel at the time when he returns from his event.

  • When he returns from his event in order to be comfortable, he gets into a robe, right, and then removes the road robe.

  • Correct.

  • And you've written in The New York Times this'll month about your experience and how you decided that it would be a good idea to wear two pairs of tights.

  • Why was that?

  • Well, I think that, you know, there's a certain amount of controlling and harassment that comes with working for Harvey.

  • And, um, it's imprudent at the time to try to wear as many layers of clothes as possible because it buys you time if you need to get out of the room.

  • I mean, while he's strolling around naked, Uh, were you expected to sit there and just concentrate on the scripts and the work that you were doing or what was that is frequently what we did?

  • Oh, the two of you.

  • Ah, well, actually, he would only be naked in there as I understand it in the early mornings in the late evening.

  • So it's not something that he would do while two of us were in the room.

  • So, for example, with rnd a one of the things that we had originally asked for was that you travel with two people because that is a form of protection, much in the way that two pairs of tights would be.

  • So what happened on that particular evening?

  • And so it was a fairly typical evening in the sense that I was reading scripts.

  • And we're having some discussion about the scripts which, you know, bled into a discussion on the personal nature.

  • Andi, uh, things became, you know, difficult quite quickly.

  • And I ended up being pushed against the bed on DDE.

  • He attempted to rape me after that happened.

  • Um, what did you decide to do?

  • Or the following morning, I went to talk to Zelda.

  • As soon as we had time on our own, which was really when Harvey left the hotel suite for lunch.

  • Um, Andi, uh, we, uh you know, I told her what had happened the night before, which was a difficult conversation, and she reacted pretty emotionally, and so we were both in the hotel room, you know, really, considering our options on, I think it was very difficult for us at that time.

  • We were far from home.

  • Uh, I was 24 She was 25 and we actually had very few resources at our disposal.

  • and we had come to Venice.

  • Ah, via means that mirror acts are provided by Transportacion that they provided by an Amex card corporate card that they provided.

  • We didn't have a lot of resources at our own disposal to make our own way back to London.

  • So we had briefly talked about going to the Italian police, but it just seemed incredibly difficult.

  • Neither of us spoke Italian, and we didn't know whether we'd be believed.

  • And so, you know, it seemed that the best option was to continue with the trip with certain provides is clearly in place.

  • So number one Zelda with absolute adamant that she was going to go down and confront Harvey right away, which she did.

  • And she was also adamant that I wouldn't spend any time in a hotel room room with him by myself for the rest.

  • The trip and she very much protected me in that sense, and I didn't bet any alone time with Harvey for the rest trip.

  • But we did finish strip in Venice and also subsequently at the developed from possible, and so it was really fast forward.

  • A few days when we go back to London when we considered longer term what our options would be.

  • And, you know, we did approach more senior people in the office, you know, really?

  • Our first port of call with Donald Gelati.

  • He was a producer on Shakespeare in love.

  • Um ah, nde.

  • We, uh But, you know, there weren't very many people working in the Miramax office at that time.

  • So, you know, Donna was the most senior person when you go to you.

  • And there weren't many other attentive.

  • I mean, what was it like working for a corporate company where there's an HR policies in place, nature officers to go to?

  • Perhaps there would be more of that in New York, But in London, we were an outpost on.

  • Eventually you decided that you should look at hiring a lawyer.

  • So Donna had recommended that we hire a lawyer on DDE.

  • You know, really A 24 and 25 we didn't know how to go about finding a lawyer.

  • We sort of did what in retrospect, seems to be ridiculous things, but we went and talked to the Citizens Advice Bureau.

  • I was in law school at the time, so I spoke to my law professor at the time.

  • But, you know, we spoke on the condition of anonymity.

  • We didn't mention our names.

  • We didn't say who we work for.

  • We didn't even say which industry we were in.

  • Um, and so there's only really so much advice people could give you when you can't part with any of the details off.

  • Why you are.

  • You might be seeking a lawyer.

  • Um, so you know, Zelda and I won't.

  • Zelda walked around SoHo looking for a lawyer, and eventually we were able to hire a small firm that took on the negotiations for the N D.

  • A.

  • Okay, and not tell us what happened then, because you had this reasonably small for me.

  • And, of course, Miramax had quite a large for him.

  • Um, what happened in initially?

  • Once you have decided to go with a small firm.

  • Our first step was Jim for constructive dismissal and to fax the New York office to say that's Elder and I were were resigning.

  • So, uh, that was the first step that we took.

  • Um, you will convict constructive dismissal over half his behavior with the help of the lawyers that you have by ourselves.

  • Isil on.

  • And then, uh, you know, we were contacted by Healthy Sawyer's quite quickly after that, okay?

  • And so then you hired your own lawyers, and they took it from there when it came to dealing with Have you one instance, Louis.

  • So before we invoked vote constructive dismissal, we had a law firm who agrees Thio support us in the process off negotiating with Harvey or whatever might come about.

  • Um So once we were contacted by Harvey's lawyers, um, things moves pretty quickly.

  • And what happened?

  • Eso We were summoned to negotiations at large London or phone, which turned out to be Alan Ovary.

  • And so we spent time at the offices of Alan and Ovary while an agreement was bashed out on non disclosure, a nondisclosure for both of you.

  • And so it wasn't really for both of us, wasn't really.

  • When we started these kind of negotiations, it wasn't the intention that we would sign a settlement agreement.

  • In fact, we very much wanted to take Harvey either to legal authorities that would be the police or report him within his own corporate structure.

  • And since Harvey was the CEO of Miramax, that would have meant going to the Walt Disney Company.

  • So the priority at that time was ready to exposed Harvey and to stop these types of assaults happening to any other women.

  • It certainly wasn't to sign a settlement agreement or to take any form of settle.

  • Well, who advised you to take the agreement?

  • Our lawyers.

  • So it was offered by alone an ovary.

  • Well, uh, as I've said several times, we were pretty young at the time, 24 or 25 on dhe, the grown ups in the room, so to speak.

  • Or seemed to make it very clear that our only path forward wants to sign the settlement agreement on Dhe, accept a settlement and go away and never speak of this again.

  • And in order for us to be a kaput through some of the clauses that we very much want to put through, that Harvey should go to therapy that Miramax should put in place some HR ombudsman and so on.

  • It was suggested to us that the only way we could get some of this on the table was if we agreed to be silenced and to take to accept a sum of money in order to never speak of this again.

  • I'm actually surprised that we were.

  • We ended up being ushered into a process where we were negotiating a non disclosure.

  • We found ourselves negotiating a non disclosure agreement without really stronger suggestion from either our lawyers or other more senior people in Iraq that we should go to the police.

  • We seem to be the only people who suggested that we should go to the police on.

  • We were very much discouraged from doing so.

  • I think the feeling was really that we wouldn't be believed.

  • We didn't have any physical evidence.

  • It was a case of she said.

  • He said, She said in a hotel room in Venice, And you know, as I've expressed in my op ed and it has been expressed in numerous other interviews, you know, we really had very little power compared to the most powerful man in Hollywood, as he was at the time.

  • But the nature of the negotiations that you had also sounded quite extraordinary.

  • At one time.

  • You were kept overnight from about 5 p.m. To 5 a.m. In negotiations.

  • Did your lawyers never say Hang on.

  • We need to take a break here.

  • Well, I think the whole process was pretty intimidating and it was very difficult to push back.

  • I mean, there were other issues also, that I you know that looking back, we're very difficult.

  • We were escorted to the bathroom at all times.

  • We weren't allowed to make phone calls.

  • We weren't even allowed to keep a pen and paper.

  • And in the end, we had signed this incredibly regis and very difficult.

  • And yet, I mean, there was no way that there's a boilerplate 30 pages of a very difficult agreement to adhere to, and we weren't allowed to keep a copy of it.

  • Now, that is not necessarily normal.

  • No, no, very much, not highly irregular.

  • And your lawyers didn't object.

  • Well, I think that there was a feeling that we very much wanted certain clauses which I'd ever size that, that we wanted to put safeguards in place to protect other women.

  • You know, for example, were Harvey two assaults anyone else and to settle with them within two years of our agreement, it would automatically trigger his resignation from Miramax and a report of the Walt Disney Company, which is something we very much wanted in the first place.

  • So the feeling was really that In order for us to put through the things that we really wanted, we had to give up so certain things that as as with any negotiation, But, um, yeah, I think the clause that we couldn't keep a copy the negotiation is actually particularly difficult to defend.

  • I really don't have anything to say about that.

  • Other than there was a high level of paranoia from Harvey Side and from his lawyers Um, you know, when you look at certain clauses within the nd a ah, lost the Klaus is going to a great detail about who we can speak to, who we may not speak to, even if there's a court case.

  • I believe that there's a provision that says that if if he ever appeared in court and you were called as a witness, you supposedly wants a when it was supposed to limit your remarks, which seems right or in fact, support, if that use our efforts to support coffee side of things, I mean, that can't be legal.

  • Well, I think quite a bit of Annie and Jay seems like it couldn't be legal um, I would say about the N d A.