19/12/2017 Newsnight


19/12/2017

With Emily Maitlis. An exclusive interview with the woman who fought to bring Harvey Weinstein to justice two decades ago. Plus how will the Conservatives reflect on 2017?


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Transcript


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Tonight, we have a broadcast world

exclusive with the woman who fought

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to bring Harvey Weinstein to justice

two long decades ago.

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For me to have broken into a meeting

like that was very unusual,

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and he did not question me.

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He got up and came with me straight

away because he knew why

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I was as angry and serious as I was.

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So you accused him

of attempted rape?

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Yeah, yeah.

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And he denied it?

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Yes.

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He said nothing at all had happened.

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And he swore on the life

of his wife and his children,

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which was his best get out of jail

card that he used quite a lot.

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And did it ever cross your

mind that that he might

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be telling the truth?

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No.

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Good evening.

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At the end of a year which has seen

women speak out with such clarity

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about abuse of male power,

we dedicate much of tonight's

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programme to hearing from one

who worked for Harvey Weinstein

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two decades ago.

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Zelda Perkins accused the Hollywood

mogul of the attempted

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rape of her colleague,

and tried to start criminal

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proceedings against him.

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She has never spoken

on camera about it before.

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She told Newsnight about the moment

she confronted Weinstein

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over his behaviour, how

she expected his company

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to fire him, and how she was told

the only way to get Miramax

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to listen to her was by making

a monetary request.

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Zelda Perkins ended up signing a non

disclosure agreement worth £125,000.

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For 19 years, the company

bought her silence.

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She told me why she

decided to break it now.

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And what working for him was like.

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Listen, Harvey now everyone sees

is this sort of repulsive monster.

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Which he was and is, on one hand.

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But I think what is interesting

and what isn't maybe brought forward

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is that he was also an extremely

exciting, brilliant, you know,

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stimulating person to be around.

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He was at the top of

his game at that time.

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He held all the cards.

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Everybody came to him.

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And I'm not just talking

about people in the

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entertainment industry.

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I'm talking about people

in politics and in, you know,

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big business and industry.

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And so to be in the enclave

of somebody that powerful,

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you know, was very exciting.

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He was also very

unpleasant to be around.

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But he was a master manipulator

and you know, his moods changed very

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quickly and you never knew

whether you were, you know,

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his confidant or whether you were

going to be screamed at.

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So it was a very highly

adrenalised environment.

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When did you first notice

that he had a problem with women?

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I don't know that I could

say I noticed he had

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a problem with women.

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I think, again it's very difficult.

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Everybody now says why did everyone

go to his hotel room?

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It wasn't as simple as that.

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You know, everybody

went to his hotel.

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This was where he did business.

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It wasn't in his bedroom,

it was in his suite.

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You know, you had top agents,

top movie stars male and female

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coming in hourly for meetings.

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This was his place of business.

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So it wasn't sort of this spurious,

weird thing that you had

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to go up to his room.

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However, he had a lot

of meetings with actresses

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and he clearly had girlfriends.

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You know, he had regular

female visitors who were

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actresses sometimes,

aspiring actresses,

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well-known actresses.

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And they clearly had

a fairly intimate personal

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relationship with him.

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But as an assistant that's not

really something that

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you're involved with.

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Did you assume that those

relationships were consensual?

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Did they seem just to be

part of that world?

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Yes.

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I presumed they were consensual.

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But there were obviously some women

who were reluctant to come.

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You know, when you would ring up

to try and make a meeting

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they would always come up

with excuses and Harvey

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would get very angry.

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And threatening.

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And would threaten,

you know, you personally.

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You had to make sure

that this meeting happened.

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With Harvey there was

no such word as no.

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I think that's really

the crux of the matter.

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Zelda, when you first

started working for him,

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some voices were warning

you what he was like?

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I had one morning and I have to say

that woman really saved my honour.

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Because actually being

warned is very important

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because it arms you.

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And all she had said to me was,

always sit in an armchair.

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Don't ever sit

on a sofa next to him.

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And always keep your

puffer jacket on!

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No more than that.

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But actually it was an incredibly

important and good piece of advice

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because it meant that I was ready

actually when he did

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start behaving badly.

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And it also meant that

I wasn't as frightened.

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Because I knew that it had

happened to other people.

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So, you know, I was very robust

in the way that I dealt with it.

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And he, you know, he took that.

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He was very persistent.

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What did he do?

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Well, I think everybody by now has

read pretty much everything,

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you know, that he has done.

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And he didn't have a very original

repertoire, you know,

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but it was a system that worked.

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You know, massages,

inappropriate suggestions,

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expecting people to work with him,

you know, unclothed.

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You know, pretty much everything

that you've read I've had

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to experience at some

point or another.

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And you then passed that warning on?

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I did warn people that he had

a habit of behaving inappropriately.

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But that they were safe,

because I had always been safe.

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And I genuinely never

was physically threatened by him.

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Emotionally and

psychologically, constantly.

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But never physically.

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And I said, I'm afraid he's a pain,

he will behave inappropriately,

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you just tell him where to go.

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You're tough with him,

nothing will happen.

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But I was wrong.

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And it came to a head

for you when he sexually assaulted,

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attempted rape, on your colleague?

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Yes.

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We were at Venice Film Festival.

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And he tried to rape her.

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What did you do?

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She was extremely distressed.

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She was shaking, very

distressed, clearly in shock.

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Didn't want anybody to know,

was absolutely terrified

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of the consequences,

what would happen.

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And I spoke with her and you know,

tried to calm her for

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about half an hour.

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And then I went straight downstairs

to where Harvey was having

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a business meeting on the terrace.

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And told him he needed

to come with me right away.

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For me to have broken into a meeting

like that was very unusual.

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And he did not question me.

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He got up and came with me

straightaway because he knew why

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I was as angry and serious as I was.

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So you accused him

of attempted rape?

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Yes.

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And he denied it?

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Yes.

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He said nothing at all has happened.

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And he swore on the life

of his wife and his children,

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which was his best get out of jail

card that he used quite a lot.

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And did it ever cross your mind

that he might be telling the truth?

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No.

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Not if you saw the girl

that I have just seen.

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And at this point, four years down

the time of working for Harvey,

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I knew him pretty well.

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I knew when he was telling

the truth or not.

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And then what did you do?

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We returned to the UK

and I spoke to my only senior

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in the Miramax offices.

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And she suggested

that I got a lawyer.

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So we both resigned from the company

saying that we felt

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we were constructively dismissed

because of his behaviour

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and that we would be, he would be

hearing from our solicitor.

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And so you found

a lawyer, solicitor?

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Yes.

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And at this point I thought

we were going to go

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to criminal proceedings.

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And take him to court.

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And that he would be punished

for what he had done.

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You were prepared to go that far

and have him locked up?

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Well, it was the only route

I thought there was.

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It was the only route

as far as I was concerned.

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And what happened?

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The lawyers made it very

clear that we didn't

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have very many options.

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Because we hadn't gone to the police

when we were in Venice,

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we had no physical evidence

and ultimately it would be two under

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25-year-old women's word

against Harvey Weinstein,

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Miramax Film Corporation

and essentially The Disney Company.

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Because I naively believed that

if we went to Disney they would be

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horrified and would fire Harvey

or you know help us

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with the proceedings.

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But the lawyers made it very

clear that that was not

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how the world works.

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So you were ready to bring him down

at that point, you took

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the only option you thought

you could and you faced doors

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slamming in your face?

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Essentially?

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Yes.

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Yes.

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And it sounds odd but for me,

you know, this was really

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where my trauma started

and my abuse started.

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I could deal with Harvey,

he was an unpleasant, difficult man,

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but I had ways of dealing with him.

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What I couldn't deal with,

what I had no equipment for was to

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deal with the legal system.

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You know, essentially I had gone

to the parents to say you know,

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somebody's done something bad

and there was no

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recourse, it seemed.

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And that was really shocking

and very frightening to discover

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that the law couldn't help me.

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In hindsight it wasn't

a simple as that.

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My lawyers were giving me the advice

they thought was best.

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However...

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And I think probably if we had gone

to the police, I don't know

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what would have happened.

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In truth I don't know

if we would have got anywhere.

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You know and at 23 when you're faced

with that, you know,

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the advice from your own legal team

is be quiet.

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You know, you will get

dragged backwards, forwards

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and sideways through the courts.

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As will your family.

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As will your friends.

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As will anybody who knows

anything about you.

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You haven't got a chance.

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You will be destroyed.

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It's quite difficult

to know where to turn.

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Do you think now that

you were terribly advised,

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or do you think they protected

you as best they could?

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In truth, I don't know.

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You ended up signing

a nondisclosure agreement.

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Tell us how that came about?

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This is very difficult because once

the lawyers presented a damages

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agreement as our only option,

the one thing that I was very clear

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about was that we had to find some

way of stopping Harvey's behaviour.

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And two, that I didn't want money

to change hands at any point.

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At this point I was told the only

way that we would even get Miramax

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to the table was by making

a monetary request.

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I mean, it was a very intense

agreement in terms of the secrecy.

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I was not allowed to ever speak

to anybody about even

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really my time working at Miramax.

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I was not allowed to speak

to a therapist without them signing

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a confidentiality agreement.

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I was not allowed to speak

to my accountant with regards

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to the money that I received.

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Which was how much?

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It was 125,000.

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And I think at this point once

I realised that this

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was my only arsenal,

the only thing I was going to have

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to try and prevent Harvey's

behaviour, was to create

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an agreement that was as binding

to him and as difficult for him

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as it was going to be for me.

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And the only way that

I could accept the fact that money

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was going to have to change hands

was that he was going to have to do

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an awful lot for that money.

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And what did you ask him to do?

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Well, there were a lot

of obligations initially

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but during the negotiations I had

to concede, we had to

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concede some of them.

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But some of the main

ones that stayed in was

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that he had to attend therapy.

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For his behaviour.

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And that I was to be present

in his first therapy session

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because I was very concerned

that he wouldn't talk

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about the relevance, the reason

that he was at a therapist.

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Again you have to remember,

this is a man who can manipulate

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everybody and I was very

aware of this.

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And I was trying to put teeth

into any little clause that I could.

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And did you go with him

to that therapy session?

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That never happened.

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I don't know if he

attended therapy or not.

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I pushed to have this meeting.

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But his legal team kept stalling.

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And after this process

I actually was pretty broken.

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I was pretty broken and exhausted

and so disillusioned.

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And I didn't have the energy

to go on fighting.

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And in reality it was not my

obligation to follow

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up his obligation.

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And what is extraordinary looking

back is you would imagine that

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Miramax Films would have been

bending over backwards to make

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sure that all of those

obligations were fulfilled.

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But they weren't.

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Your career path

was ended that point.

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Pretty much, yes.

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So what did you do?

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I ended up moving to

Central America to train horses!

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I did spend a little bit of time

trying for work again

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in London and it was

a pretty unpleasant experience.

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Because my reputation

was pretty suspect.

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And when you've spent a month

of your life fighting with every

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ounce of your strength

for right and to stop,

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you know, a predator,

to have to face that kind of...

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..environment afterwards

was very, very hard.

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I really couldn't, I couldn't stay

in the industry at that point.

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He calls himself a sex addict now.

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Do you think that was at the root?

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No.

0:17:130:17:15

I don't think he's a sex addict.

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He's a power addict.

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Everything he did, everything that

drove him was about dominance.

0:17:220:17:24

With men and women.

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He put an enormous amount of energy

into humiliating men and an enormous

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amount of energy into getting

women to submit.

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And getting men to submit.

0:17:370:17:39

That was what drove him.

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You know, his overarching

need for power.

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So you think now if you had been

listened to at that point,

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everything that came after 20 years

ago would have been avoided?

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Yes.

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It was the entire system, you know.

0:18:020:18:04

And the system essentially protected

Harvey in this case,

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but I can guarantee it protects 100

other people like that.

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Because if you have the power

and the money to create agreements

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that cover-up essentially a very

serious and in this case crime,

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criminal action, then I dread

to imagine what other things

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are being covered up.

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You describe these feelings

of signing an NDA that basically put

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you in exactly the opposite position

to the one you had hoped.

0:18:430:18:49

You wanted to be speaking out,

you wanted to be changing

0:18:490:18:51

the culture, and you were gagged.

0:18:510:18:53

How long did you live with that

before you had enough?

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Well this happened 19 years ago.

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During that time there were a couple

of occasions where I made attempts

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to circumnavigate my agreement.

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However it was almost impossible

for me because one of the causes

0:19:130:19:23

-- clauses of the agreement

disallows me to have a copy of it.

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So I don't actually have a copy

of the agreement that I signed.

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Why?

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Because it's a smoking gun.

0:19:310:19:32

If you have an agreement that

somebody signed that says

0:19:320:19:36

that he will go to therapy,

that he will be dismissed

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from his own company if anybody else

makes a claim in the ensuing period,

0:19:400:19:45

you know that HR policy for sexual

harassment has to be

0:19:450:19:48

brought into the company,

it's pretty clear that

0:19:480:19:50

something is wrong.

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So they never let

you have a copy of it?

0:19:530:19:56

They never let you see

the whole thing?

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I'm allowed to look

at it supervised.

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I was allowed to look at it

supervised in my lawyer's office.

0:20:000:20:03

What do you think should

happen with NDAs now?

0:20:030:20:07

I mean as you say,

you broke your cover,

0:20:070:20:09

you want others to do the same.

0:20:090:20:12

Listen, I'm not stupid.

0:20:120:20:14

I understand that nondisclosure

agreements have a place

0:20:140:20:17

in society and for both sides.

0:20:170:20:21

But it's really important that

legislation is changed around how

0:20:210:20:24

these agreements are regulated.

0:20:240:20:29

You cannot have a legal document

that protects a criminal.

0:20:290:20:34

This isn't someone

telling you a dodgy car.

0:20:340:20:36

You know.

0:20:360:20:40

And in fact now the state

of California, New Jersey

0:20:400:20:45

and New York are changing

legislation so that you can no

0:20:450:20:47

longer hide sexual assault or abuse

in a nondisclosure agreement.

0:20:470:20:52

I want that to happen here,

it has to happen here.

0:20:520:20:57

We are a civilised culture.

0:20:570:21:00

You know, this has to be debated

and the law needs to be changed.

0:21:000:21:06

You can't change the Harvey

Weinsteins of the world.

0:21:060:21:08

There are always going to be people

who follow the darker

0:21:080:21:11

side of their character.

0:21:110:21:13

But if the rules and the laws

that we have to protect ourselves

0:21:130:21:16

enable that then there's no point

in having them.

0:21:160:21:24

Do you think that

culture is changing now?

0:21:240:21:28

Do you feel that this has been

a proper watershed year?

0:21:280:21:32

I think it has.

0:21:320:21:33

I think it's still got

a very long way to go.

0:21:330:21:36

I think that women are in a much

stronger position, but I think

0:21:360:21:40

we have to be extremely careful.

0:21:400:21:44

And I think the media has to be

responsible with its reporting.

0:21:440:21:51

But I think there is

still a long way to go.

0:21:510:21:56

Do you think Hollywood will change

now, or do you think it

0:21:560:21:59

will always go where the money

is and the artistic minds are?

0:21:590:22:05

Yes, I think Hollywood will change

but this isn't just about Hollywood.

0:22:050:22:11

This isn't about Hollywood,

this is about, the reason that this

0:22:110:22:13

story has captured everybody's

imagination is because it involves

0:22:130:22:15

glamorous, famous people.

0:22:150:22:18

And because if you were trying

to paint a fantasy monster,

0:22:180:22:24

Harvey fits the bill perfectly.

0:22:240:22:28

So it's the perfect media storm.

0:22:280:22:30

But this isn't about Hollywood.

0:22:300:22:31

This is about the abuse of power.

0:22:310:22:36

How do you think you will see

2017 in this context

0:22:360:22:39

in your life, looking back?

0:22:390:22:46

It's an interesting question.

0:22:460:22:50

Because everybody when they talk

to me, they say this must be very

0:22:500:22:53

distressing for you.

0:22:530:22:55

And the one thing it

isn't is distressing.

0:22:550:22:59

The last 20 years have

been distressing.

0:22:590:23:02

Where I've not been allowed

to speak, where I've not been

0:23:020:23:05

allowed to be myself.

0:23:050:23:06

And not just for me,

for lots of women.

0:23:060:23:10

Who have not been able

to own their past.

0:23:100:23:12

And for many of them, their trauma.

0:23:120:23:16

And I think I've realised that

actually it was much more traumatic

0:23:160:23:19

than I realised at the time.

0:23:190:23:24

Because the freedom of being able

to speak and being validated.

0:23:240:23:28

And being able to now

see that I wasn't mad.

0:23:280:23:33

You know, that this was wrong,

this is wrong, this is right.

0:23:330:23:38

And that although you know,

the process that I went

0:23:380:23:40

through was legal, it was immoral.

0:23:400:23:46

And now I feel that maybe I can be

instrumental in some sort of change.

0:23:460:23:52

And if I can make one good thing

happen out of something as horrific

0:23:520:23:55

as all the damage that Harvey has

caused, then you know,

0:23:550:23:58

that makes this year a fabulous

year for me personally.

0:23:580:24:00

Zelda Perkins, thank you.

0:24:000:24:02

Thank you.

0:24:020:24:09

In response to her allegations,

Harvey Weinstein's lawyers issued

0:24:090:24:12

the following statement:

0:24:120:24:15

"Mr Weinstein categorically denies

engaging in any non-consensual

0:24:150:24:17

conduct or alleged

threatening behaviour."

0:24:170:24:20

The Walt Disney Company

has not replied.

0:24:200:24:22

Miramax had no comment.

0:24:220:24:25

The lawyers representing

Zelda Perkins at the time

0:24:250:24:29

that the Non Disclosure Agreement

was signed said it was inappropriate

0:24:290:24:32

for them to comment,

given the terms of the NDA.

0:24:320:24:36

Geoffrey Robertson is one

of Britain's best known barristers

0:24:360:24:38

who writes on media

law and free speech -

0:24:380:24:40

he's familiar with the case.

0:24:400:24:46

You have watched that interview.

What would you say to people

0:24:460:24:51

listening to say enormous sympathy

for what she has been through but

0:24:510:24:59

why would she have taken the money?

She's courageous in speaking up

0:24:590:25:04

because she has been led to think

that she will suffer from the Disney

0:25:040:25:09

company, from Miramax, from the

lawyers of Harvey Weinstein. But in

0:25:090:25:14

fact I would say she achieved a

great deal. Harvey Weinstein was not

0:25:140:25:24

able to be prosecuted for the simple

reason and I do not think she

0:25:240:25:28

understands this, that the offence

was committed in Italy and it is a

0:25:280:25:32

matter for the Italian police. The

CPS might have sent statements but

0:25:320:25:37

that is as far as it would've gone.

So given that she had only one which

0:25:370:25:44

was to sue him, to bring legal

proceedings and of course when the

0:25:440:25:48

legal proceedings were threatened

for constructive dismissal and so

0:25:480:25:54

on, they were met with this offer of

money but they achieved more than

0:25:540:25:58

that. She was entitled to money as

compensation for losing her job, she

0:25:580:26:05

obviously could not work with Harvey

Weinstein again after this, she was

0:26:050:26:10

entitled to compensation for the

stress. But what she achieved was in

0:26:100:26:17

fact a direction that lawyers should

organise therapy for Harvey

0:26:170:26:24

Weinstein. If that had been done

dozens of women may not have been

0:26:240:26:27

abused. There was a proper system

setup, there was meant to be.

What

0:26:270:26:35

was interesting for me was when she

talks about the trauma may be

0:26:350:26:39

beginning not with Harvey Weinstein

but with that legal net of the

0:26:390:26:43

agreement are closing around her...

Well what I have seen of the

0:26:430:26:49

agreement, I would regard that as

unenforceable. I have no doubt that

0:26:490:26:59

the Supreme Court, Justice Brenda

Hale and her colleagues would say a

0:26:590:27:03

lot about that but certainly would

say it was unenforceable. But of

0:27:030:27:07

course it would never get to the

Supreme Court or Court of Appeal or

0:27:070:27:10

High Court because the victim is

intimidated.

Because it cost so

0:27:100:27:15

much. Instead of looking at this as

whether the victim should be on

0:27:150:27:21

trial for this is the question is

whether the disclosure agreements

0:27:210:27:24

themselves should be on trial.

Of

course they should and in America

0:27:240:27:28

where there is no inhibition on

nondisclosure agreements that

0:27:280:27:33

cover-up crime, the story has been

very influential and laws are being

0:27:330:27:37

changed. She could change it here?

The law here requires a bit of

0:27:370:27:45

explanation and I must give you a

bit of history, 1000 years ago

0:27:450:27:49

wealthy men could rape and pay money

and never be punished. But in the

0:27:490:27:56

civilising process we decided that

rape and assault were not just

0:27:560:28:02

crimes against individuals but

against society and deserved

0:28:020:28:05

punishment. So we have a law called

the provision of felony where it was

0:28:050:28:12

an offence to cover up a serious

crime. In 1967 we changed that the

0:28:120:28:18

law in the criminal Justice act

section five, we made it an offence

0:28:180:28:22

for a victim like Zelda to receive

money to cover up the crime. But she

0:28:220:28:32

was entitled to receive money for

the trauma and wrongful dismissal

0:28:320:28:37

and so forth. But we did not make it

an offence for the perpetrator to

0:28:370:28:43

offer money.

So how can a NDA be

used to cover-up crime, that is the

0:28:430:28:48

question at the bottom of this.

My

view is that a NDA which purports to

0:28:480:28:54

cover-up crime is unenforceable. And

it's possibly illegal. What I think

0:28:540:28:58

Parliament should do, is to change

the 1967 law to make it an offence

0:28:580:29:07

for the perpetrator or his agents to

offer money and they should add to

0:29:070:29:13

the unfair contract act that

nondisclosure agreements should only

0:29:130:29:17

operate 457 years.

Let me ask you

more broadly, there are other women

0:29:170:29:23

out there like Zelda who have signed

an NDA. It is not binding.

So they

0:29:230:29:30

could come forward? If they have

enough money to pay lawyers, yes.

0:29:300:29:37

They could still be prosecuted by

civil war?

Under civil law they

0:29:370:29:42

could, and attempt could be made to

pressure them with breach of

0:29:420:29:46

confidence. My answer to that, legal

answer, there's no in iniquity, that

0:29:460:29:53

is the law and iniquity infused

sexual assault. -- includes. So if

0:29:530:30:02

you fearful of the object of these

NDAs is to intimidate, to

0:30:020:30:06

intimidate, to make them fearful,

you have nothing to fear by speaking

0:30:060:30:10

out.

Thank you very much.

0:30:100:30:14

Last night, we looked back

at Labour's political year.

0:30:140:30:16

Tonight, in our last

programme of 2017, we turn

0:30:160:30:18

to the Conservatives.

0:30:180:30:19

Its hard to remember, in December,

what they looked like in March.

0:30:190:30:22

Before the General Election,

Theresa May was 20 points

0:30:220:30:24

ahead in the polls.

0:30:240:30:25

Tonight, we ask what the Tories

need to do to redefine

0:30:250:30:28

themselves in 2018.

0:30:280:30:29

Whether they risk being defined

by Brexit and Brexit alone,

0:30:290:30:35

and how the cabinet views

the parliamentary rebels that

0:30:350:30:38

have the power to lose

their Prime Minister a critical vote

0:30:380:30:40

in the commons.

0:30:400:30:41

We'll ask Chris

Grayling in a moment.

0:30:410:30:43

First a look back.

0:30:430:30:47

Not only was it appalling,

but it was a real tragedy

0:30:470:30:49

because we have a good

story to tell.

0:30:490:30:53

I thought the Prime Minister

was let down badly.

0:30:530:30:56

It was ill-advised

strategically, tactically.

0:30:560:31:01

Not to get the result

that she or any of us

0:31:010:31:04

expected was pretty low.

0:31:040:31:09

For some the end of 2017

will not come soon enough.

0:31:090:31:13

Certainly it has been

a year of two halves.

0:31:130:31:19

A buoyant spring brought

the triggering of Article 50.

0:31:190:31:22

The United Kingdom is leaving

the European Union.

0:31:220:31:26

For a while it seemed

like the parliamentary battle over

0:31:260:31:28

Brexit had been won.

0:31:280:31:32

But then came this...

0:31:320:31:35

The government should

call a general election.

0:31:350:31:39

The election they called snap,

which turned out to be

0:31:390:31:41

more like roulette.

0:31:410:31:44

It took an agonisingly

long toll on the public.

0:31:440:31:47

I think the whole country has

had enough of politics,

0:31:470:31:50

politicians telling us this,

that and the other.

0:31:500:31:53

And on the party itself.

0:31:530:31:56

I thought the Prime Minister

was let down badly.

0:31:560:31:59

It was ill-advised strategically,

tactically, a clunky to say

0:31:590:32:02

the least election campaign.

0:32:020:32:05

Made robots of us all.

0:32:050:32:08

Repeating dead mantras.

0:32:080:32:10

And we made Corbyn look authentic.

0:32:100:32:14

Well, it was appalling.

0:32:140:32:17

And you know, I knew that I felt

that very deeply on the ground.

0:32:170:32:21

And in my view not

only was it appalling,

0:32:210:32:23

but it was a real tragedy.

0:32:230:32:24

Because we have a good

story to tell.

0:32:240:32:26

What do people want?

0:32:260:32:28

Good infrastructure, good public

services, wealth creation.

0:32:280:32:32

If you don't get the basics right,

OK, then you cannot branch

0:32:320:32:35

off into social care,

you cannot branch off into reform.

0:32:350:32:37

When May's closest advisers

were forced out it seemed the PM

0:32:370:32:40

herself wouldn't be far behind.

0:32:400:32:44

Now, let's get to work.

0:32:440:32:46

But she survived that.

0:32:460:32:48

While we will...

0:32:480:32:50

Excuse me.

0:32:500:32:51

And even that.

0:32:510:32:54

It was not possible

to reach agreement today.

0:32:540:32:56

And yes, that too.

0:32:560:33:00

The Prime Minister's personal

resilience is extraordinary.

0:33:000:33:04

And actually she demonstrated that

in the EU negotiations, you know,

0:33:040:33:06

getting to phase two.

0:33:060:33:09

In the way she handled

the fallout from the DUP not

0:33:090:33:12

agreeing and then agreeing,

and everything else.

0:33:120:33:14

So I think actually,

there are definitely elements

0:33:140:33:16

of strong and stable there.

0:33:160:33:17

And it's what the country want.

0:33:170:33:23

And somehow at the year's end it

feels like she's turned it around.

0:33:230:33:26

# Christ the Saviour is born...

0:33:260:33:30

A deal on the first phase

of Brexit has left party

0:33:300:33:34

feeling, well, hopeful.

0:33:340:33:35

# Christ the Saviour is born...

0:33:350:33:39

The spirit of the age

is a spirit of insurgent,

0:33:390:33:42

creative, entrepreneurial

opportunity and empowerment.

0:33:420:33:47

Conservatism for the 21st-century

can take that spirit and use

0:33:470:33:49

Brexit as the moment

to electrify our programme.

0:33:490:33:53

The good news is the public

aren't looking at us

0:33:530:33:55

as an eight-year-old,

tired, burnt out administration.

0:33:550:34:01

But as this old fraught,

mistake laden year draws to a close,

0:34:010:34:03

the party is trying to work out how

to position itself

0:34:030:34:06

for the year to come.

0:34:060:34:08

In the face of Jeremy Corbyn's

Momentum, what is their offer

0:34:080:34:10

to voters and how much

are they constrained

0:34:100:34:12

by those demands of Brexit?

0:34:120:34:16

It is really urgent that

as the Prime Minister sees

0:34:160:34:20

through the noble and frankly

thankless task of negotiating

0:34:200:34:24

Brexit, that under her leadership

a messianic piece of work has begun

0:34:240:34:30

to make this a moment

of Conservative renewal that can

0:34:300:34:33

inspire those who didn't

vote for it.

0:34:330:34:34

I think it's very urgent.

0:34:340:34:36

I think if we don't,

this is in danger of being Brexit

0:34:360:34:39

that breaks, not makes conservatism.

0:34:390:34:41

We are in a risk of this

being a moment, a catastrophic

0:34:410:34:43

moment where conservatism isn't

forgiven by generation

0:34:430:34:45

who didn't vote for it.

0:34:450:34:49

There's very clear policies that

have come out in the last two

0:34:490:34:52

and a half years that I have been

in this place that I have

0:34:520:34:55

not been able to sell

on the doors in Plymouth.

0:34:550:34:58

And you do think, and I have thought

to myself, how do these policies

0:34:580:35:01

become in the public domain?

0:35:010:35:03

Why is that, I think

because we are reaping

0:35:030:35:05

the harvest of a generation

of career politicians.

0:35:050:35:11

There are some really talented ones

in there and there are some really

0:35:110:35:14

gifted people who come to Parliament

because they believe in something.

0:35:140:35:18

But I think those two categories

have fallen somewhat.

0:35:180:35:20

And what of this

politician's career?

0:35:200:35:23

May, who so often these past months

appeared to be hanging by a thread,

0:35:230:35:26

now looks if not exactly strong,

at least stable.

0:35:260:35:34

And curiously, it's the ones

who have traditionally toed

0:35:340:35:36

the party line who have now

become her backbench rebels.

0:35:360:35:39

The ones with the power

to lose her her first Brexit vote.

0:35:390:35:42

Nicky Morgan was one of a handful

who sided in favour of Parliament

0:35:420:35:45

having the ultimate vote on Brexit.

0:35:450:35:48

She was deemed a malcontent

and a traitor by certain elements

0:35:480:35:50

of the national press.

0:35:500:35:53

The extent of the bullying,

if you like, the name-calling,

0:35:530:35:56

the abuse, personal,

death threats, it is extraordinary.

0:35:560:36:03

And I don't like talking about it

as a female MP because we need

0:36:030:36:06

more women in politics.

0:36:060:36:08

I don't want to put people off.

0:36:080:36:09

But it has become quite

an extraordinary way to behave.

0:36:090:36:14

So maybe 2018 will just be one more

year with the Tories

0:36:140:36:18

split along Europe.

0:36:180:36:21

Or maybe the election will come

to be seen as the best thing

0:36:210:36:26

Theresa May ever did

for her colleagues, at least those

0:36:260:36:28

who kept their seats.

0:36:280:36:30

The loss of her majority

which seemed so politically

0:36:300:36:33

devastating at the time,

may just have allowed her to reset

0:36:330:36:35

the parameters of what Brexit means.

0:36:350:36:41

Well - earlier I spoke to

Theresa May's Transport Secretary -

0:36:410:36:44

and the man who chaired her

leadership campaign -

0:36:440:36:46

Chris Grayling.

0:36:460:36:47

And I asked him how

the year had been.

0:36:470:36:51

Well, it's had its ups,

it's had its downs.

0:36:510:36:53

We've had some difficult times

through the general election

0:36:530:36:56

campaign that was disappointing.

0:36:560:36:58

We have been through a lengthy

Brexit process but we have

0:36:580:37:01

reached the end of the year

in a good position.

0:37:010:37:04

Where we have completed the first

stage of the negotiations.

0:37:040:37:07

And actually alongside all of that,

perhaps the thing I am proudest

0:37:070:37:10

of that we have achieved this year,

the lowest unemployment

0:37:100:37:12

since the 1970s.

0:37:120:37:14

That's a really big step

forward for the country.

0:37:140:37:16

Jeremy Corbyn thinks

he could be Prime Minister

0:37:160:37:18

by this time next year.

0:37:180:37:20

Well, I think that is a sign of why

Jeremy Corbyn is not fit

0:37:200:37:24

to be Prime Minister.

0:37:240:37:25

He obviously has not read

the Fixed-term Parliaments Act.

0:37:250:37:28

The next general election

is due in June 2020-22.

0:37:280:37:30

The Conservative Party

will take us through Brexit.

0:37:300:37:32

We will deliver a Britain

that is going forward,

0:37:320:37:34

that is using smart technology,

smart innovation, to create

0:37:340:37:36

an exciting future.

0:37:360:37:37

And we have no intention of letting

Jeremy Corbyn anywhere near power.

0:37:370:37:42

You cannot fault his logic, though.

0:37:420:37:44

Your government has seemed like one

that could tumble at any point

0:37:440:37:47

in the last six months.

0:37:470:37:48

No, that is tittle tattle.

0:37:480:37:50

It's not at all a government

that is going to topple.

0:37:500:37:53

We have a strong relationship

with the DUP, we've got

0:37:530:37:56

a team of Conservative MPs

who are committed to taking

0:37:560:37:58

this country forward.

0:37:580:37:59

When people say this

I ask the question, can

0:37:590:38:01

you name the Conservative MP

who is going to vote

0:38:010:38:04

for an early election,

who's going to abandon the Brexit

0:38:040:38:06

process, and leave the country

in danger of a far left-wing

0:38:060:38:09

government led by Jeremy Corbyn?

0:38:090:38:10

There is no such

member of Parliament.

0:38:100:38:13

Your hands are tied by Brexit,

Jeremy Corbyn has momentum,

0:38:130:38:17

everything that you do,

everything you want to pay

0:38:170:38:19

for and push forward

comes back to Brexit.

0:38:190:38:22

You might just be the caretaker

government for the public

0:38:220:38:25

until they can have their Brexit

and get rid of you.

0:38:250:38:28

Well, no.

0:38:280:38:29

Not at all.

0:38:290:38:30

We are a government that has

delivered real change since 2010.

0:38:300:38:33

Positive change.

0:38:330:38:38

To go back to that point

about the state of the labour

0:38:380:38:41

market, never in my wildest dreams,

I was employment minister back

0:38:410:38:43

in 2010, inheriting the mess

we took over from Labour,

0:38:430:38:46

two and a half million

unemployment and rising.

0:38:460:38:49

It has exceeded all my expectations

that we now have brought

0:38:490:38:52

unemployment down to the lowest

level since the 1970s.

0:38:520:38:54

But you know as well as I do...

0:38:540:38:56

That is just one example

of the positive change

0:38:560:38:58

we've made in government,

we've delivered in government.

0:38:580:39:00

You know as well as I do that

many of those jobs don't even

0:39:000:39:03

deliver the living wage.

0:39:030:39:04

I'm going to quote you Iain

Duncan Smith who said,

0:39:040:39:07

"British business will have to learn

to get by in a different world."

0:39:070:39:10

And we know that today for example

the Financial Times has estimated

0:39:100:39:14

that the UK is £350 million a week

worse off than if it

0:39:140:39:17

had voted Remain.

0:39:170:39:20

What does it mean to get

by in a different world?

0:39:200:39:23

Well, the Financial Times,

that figured can't be right

0:39:230:39:25

because our economy has

carried on growing.

0:39:250:39:28

We've carried on seeing economic

progress, exports for example have

0:39:280:39:30

risen sharply in the past 12 months.

0:39:300:39:33

The pound against the dollar

is at the level that it was at

0:39:330:39:36

the time of the referendum.

0:39:360:39:38

Our growth forecasts have

been revised downwards.

0:39:380:39:40

We are now growing more minutely

than anywhere else in Europe.

0:39:400:39:42

But the issue the Office

for Budget Responsibility brought

0:39:420:39:44

forward at the time of the budget

which is where these

0:39:440:39:47

projections come from,

is all down to our productivity

0:39:470:39:49

and this is why we are

investing in the future.

0:39:490:39:52

We are investing in technology,

we are investing in infrastructure.

0:39:520:39:54

That election was the moment wasn't

it where Theresa May had to learn

0:39:540:39:58

to be a consultative,

parliamentarian PM.

0:39:580:40:05

She strengthened parliament's

restraint if you like

0:40:050:40:07

of her own government.

0:40:070:40:08

Well, it certainly the case that

in terms of Parliament,

0:40:080:40:11

in terms of the numbers,

it's a more challenging

0:40:110:40:13

period now for us.

0:40:130:40:16

We don't have a majority, we have

to win arguments in Parliament.

0:40:160:40:24

We won't always do that,

though over the last few months

0:40:240:40:27

we've won virtually all of the votes

that have been in Parliament.

0:40:270:40:30

But just looking recently,

where those 11 backbenchers right

0:40:300:40:32

to hold out to give Parliament

the last word on that Brexit vote?

0:40:320:40:35

I respect the views

of colleagues who differ

0:40:350:40:37

from the line that we've taken.

0:40:370:40:38

I would argue that the approach

we were taking was right,

0:40:380:40:41

offering a meaningful vote

on the treaty when we conclude it.

0:40:410:40:44

We did not win that vote

but the truth is we had

0:40:440:40:50

literally dozens of votes

on the European Union

0:40:500:40:56

Withdrawal Bill.

0:40:560:40:58

We've lost one.

0:40:580:40:59

They were called mutineers,

traitors, malcontents

0:40:590:41:01

by a leading daily newspaper.

0:41:010:41:02

Look, I'm very clear...

0:41:020:41:03

Were you shocked by that?

0:41:030:41:04

I am very clear, we have a free

press and the press is entitled

0:41:040:41:07

to say within the bounds of decency

what it does.

0:41:070:41:10

I defend...

0:41:100:41:11

Those MPs say they've received death

threats on the back of that.

0:41:110:41:14

That is absolutely unacceptable.

0:41:140:41:15

And the Prime Minister has

been clear about that...

0:41:150:41:17

So why didn't the Prime Minister

speak out publicly

0:41:170:41:19

about that headline?

0:41:190:41:20

The Prime Minister did speak

out yesterday and said

0:41:200:41:22

that it was absolutely unacceptable.

0:41:220:41:23

I absolutely defend the rights

of individual members of Parliament

0:41:230:41:26

to follow their consciences.

0:41:260:41:28

We try to encourage them

to make sure they agree

0:41:280:41:32

with what the government is bringing

forward, but threatening people

0:41:320:41:34

who vote the other way is never

acceptable and the Prime Minister

0:41:340:41:37

was very clear about that yesterday.

0:41:370:41:39

So why didn't Theresa May stand up

and say, that kind of headline,

0:41:390:41:42

from a leading newspaper,

is frankly unacceptable

0:41:420:41:45

from a leading newspaper, is frankly

unacceptable and abominable?

0:41:450:41:48

All of us as politicians get

criticised in the newspapers

0:41:480:41:50

from time to time.

0:41:500:41:51

That doesn't give any kind of excuse

to people outside or around

0:41:510:41:54

politics to make the kind

of direct we've seen.

0:41:540:41:56

That is entirely unacceptable.

0:41:560:41:57

But it's part of a broader picture.

0:41:570:42:01

And I have to say that a significant

part of the blame lies with parts

0:42:010:42:07

of the Labour movement,

the Momentum campaigns we saw

0:42:070:42:09

during the campaign.

0:42:090:42:10

We have seen some really

brutal behaviour, threats

0:42:100:42:12

to Conservative candidates,

threats to family members

0:42:120:42:14

of Conservative candidates.

0:42:140:42:17

It is bringing a nastiness into our

politics that we do not accept.

0:42:170:42:20

So you think the headline

was Labour's fault?

0:42:200:42:22

Well, I think that what we've seen

over the past few months,

0:42:220:42:25

a large proportion of it has come

from the left I'm afraid.

0:42:250:42:31

A tone in our politics,

a hostility, an unpleasantness,

0:42:310:42:33

and frankly sometimes downright

threatening behaviour

0:42:330:42:35

that is unacceptable.

0:42:350:42:37

It hasn't just been directed at us,

it's been directed at moderate

0:42:370:42:39

Labour MPs as well.

0:42:390:42:41

Some of the ways in which they have

been treated has been utterly

0:42:410:42:44

unacceptable and we all need to work

together across the political

0:42:440:42:47

spectrum to stamp this out.

0:42:470:42:48

Chris Grayling, thank you.

0:42:480:42:49

You're welcome.

0:42:490:42:50

That's all we've got

time for tonight.

0:42:500:42:51

And indeed that's it

from Newsnight for this year.

0:42:510:42:54

Evan - and the rest of the team -

will be back to usher

0:42:540:42:57

in 2018 on January 2nd.

0:42:570:42:59

But until then, good

night and good luck -

0:42:590:43:01

or at least have a good break

from all of us here.

0:43:010:43:05

With Emily Maitlis. An exclusive interview with the woman who fought to bring Harvey Weinstein to justice two decades ago. Plus how will the Conservatives reflect on 2017?


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