01:43 GMT +318 August 2018
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    In this March 2, 2014 file photo, Harvey Weinstein arrives at the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles

    Ex-Weinstein Aide Praised on Social Media for Breaking Silence on Rape Claims

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    Describing Harvey Weinstein’s personality, Zelda Perkins said the Hollywood mogul’s sexual misconduct was actually driven by his "overarching need for power." She also said that it was "immoral" to have kept silent about his misbehavior.

    Zelda Perkins, Harvey Weinstein’s former assistant, has been lauded on social media for finally revealing how she was silenced after making sexual harassment allegations against her boss.

    On Tuesday, Perkins spoke to the BBC’s "Newsnight" show, alleging that Weinstein attempted to rape her former colleague 19 years ago.

    Weinstein has denied the rape claims against him. Police in the US and the UK are currently investigating various allegations against the producer, but no charges have been brought so far.

    "We were at the Venice Film Festival and he tried to rape her," Perkins told the BBC Two programme. "She was shaking, very distressed, and clearly in shock," she said. "She didn't want anybody to know and was absolutely terrified of the consequences. I spoke with her and tried to calm her down before confronting Harvey face to face."

    She said Weinstein denied the attempted rape, "swearing on the life of his wife and his children, which was his best get-out-of-jail card that he used quite a lot."

    Perkins said she signed a nondisclosure agreement (NDA) in 1998, which prevented her from speaking to anybody about the alleged rape incident and received 125,000 pounds from Miramax as part of the settlement.

    Many on social media have praised her for finally breaking the NDA, saying it was courageous and inspiring behavior.

    Others, however, assumed that it was unacceptable to keep the incident secret and that she should have report it to the police.

    Some even assumed that the whole situation was about money.

    Both Perkins and her colleague subsequently resigned. Perkins expected a criminal proceeding against Weinstein, but "the lawyers made it very clear that we didn't have very many options." She added that they did not have physical evidence to provide to the police, so "it would be two young women's words against Harvey Weinstein."

    Commenting on the NDA, she said, "The last 19 years have been distressing, where I've not been allowed to speak, where I've not been allowed to be myself."

    "It's not just distressing for me, but for lots of women who have not been able to own their past, and for many of them, their trauma. Although the process I went through was legal, it was immoral."

    READ MORE: Salma Hayek's Attack on 'Monster' Weinstein Sets Twitter Abuzz

    Speaking about Weinstein’s personality, the former assistant assumed that an obsession with power was at the very core of his sexual misbehavior.

    "I don’t think he’s a sex addict. He’s a power addict," Perkins said. "Everything that drove him was about dominance with men and women. He put an enormous amount of energy into humiliating men and an enormous amount of energy into getting women to submit. That was what drove him: his overarching need for power."

    Since early October, when The New York Times claimed that Weinstein had allegedly paid off women who had accused him of sexual assault since the 1980s, dozens of women, including actresses Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie and Lena Headey, have come forward with allegations that Weinstein sexually assaulted them.

    Weinstein, who has denied some, but not all of the sexual allegations against him, is currently being investigated by police around the world, including in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, New York and London.

    Since the first allegations emerged, the sexual harassment scandal has been snowballing, reaching a number of prominent Hollywood persons, including actors Kevin Spacey and Dustin Hoffman and beyond the movie industry to entertainment, media and politics.

    Related:

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    Pamela Anderson's Stance on Harvey Weinstein's Sex Scandal Galvanizes Netizens
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    sexual harassment, rape, Harvey Weinstein
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