Harvey Weinstein’s ex-assistant breaks NDA for tell-all interview

(L-R): Rowena Chiu, former assistant to Harvey Weinstein, and Weinstein. HGL/GC Images

Warning: This article contains disturbing and sexually explicit language. Please read at your own discretion.

Harvey Weinstein‘s former assistant Rowena Chiu broke her non-disclosure agreement (NDA) to discuss the disgraced movie producer’s alleged sexual harassment in a tell-all interview with Variety.

Chiu has previously alleged that Weinstein — who is currently serving a 23-year sentence in prison after being convicted on two charges of rape in the third degree and a criminal sex act — tried to sexually assault her when he pushed her onto a bed and ripped off her tights in 1998.

Weinstein has denied the allegation.

Click to play video 'Coronavirus outbreak: Harvey Weinstein tests positive for COVID-19 from prison' Coronavirus outbreak: Harvey Weinstein tests positive for COVID-19 from prison
Coronavirus outbreak: Harvey Weinstein tests positive for COVID-19 from prison – Mar 23, 2020

“I’m breaking my NDA right now,” Chiu told the outlet in an interview conducted over the phone from her northern California home. “He could sue me for every single interview I’ve ever done for breaking my NDA, but in practice, he’s probably not going to. He’s got bigger problems.”

Story continues below advertisement

READ MORE: Harvey Weinstein charged with new count of sexual battery

Chiu was working as a new assistant at Miramax and said that she and Weinstein were discussing film productions and scripts in a late-night meeting on a business trip when she declined Weinstein’s request for a massage.

She alleges that is when he pushed her onto the bed but she managed to escape the room.

Now, Chiu is working toward changing the legislation in regards to NDAs in the U.K., where she lived and worked for Miramax at the time of the incident.

She explained that she doesn’t hold just her former boss accountable for his actions but also the “system that enables this behaviour.”

Click to play video 'Canadian actress reflects on Harvey Weinstein verdict' Canadian actress reflects on Harvey Weinstein verdict
Canadian actress reflects on Harvey Weinstein verdict – Mar 11, 2020

Chiu said that for over 20 years, she was bound to the NDA that “locked (her and Zelda Perkins) out of any type of emotional support whatsoever,” which she claims led her to attempt suicide twice.

Story continues below advertisement

Chi said that after signing the NDA in 1998, she and Perkins, another former assistant of Weinstein, never spoke out because they “had the fear of God put into us.”

“We were told by our own lawyer — not even just Harvey’s lawyers — that we must treat this time as a black hole. It said very specifically in our contract that we can only refer in very general terms to having worked for Harvey, and we can never talk in any detail about any aspect of our life during this time ever to anybody — not just the media and lawyers and doctors and therapists, but there was also a clause about friends and family. It locked us out of any type of emotional support whatsoever,” she said.

READ MORE: Harvey Weinstein tests positive for COVID-19 in prison, union official says

“NDAs should be banned as a tool to cover up sexual harassment, unequivocally,” Chiu said of the laws surrounding NDAs. “If you rape someone, that’s a reportable crime. To say, ‘I’m going to have you sign a legal document, so that you can’t go to the police or lawyers to discuss what happened to you,’ that’s just plain wrong.”

She said the NDA was “like the mafia.”

“It’s like the mafia. This agreement had to not exist. This payment had to not exist. If the tax authorities contacted us, we had to send them back to Harvey’s lawyers in London,” Chiu explained. “We couldn’t even admit to its existence if Her Majesty’s government sent officials to ask us about it. It is absolutely staggering, the extent of his arrogance, narcissism and belief that he was beyond any kind of power or authority.”

Story continues below advertisement

She continued: “And you know what? He was friends with Prince Andrew. He got invited to Beatrice’s 18th birthday party with his buddy Jeffrey Epstein (in 2006). He probably thought he had the British Royal Family eating out of his hand. The Queen gave him a CBE (Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) for his services to the British film industry (in 2004). He thought he was of the elite group that didn’t have to answer to the police or the legal system or even tax authorities.”

READ MORE: Former Harvey Weinstein assistant says her non-disclosure agreement ‘morally lacking’

Chiu explained that she was “never released” from the NDA but she chose to speak out against Weinstein for the first time on The Today Show in September 2019.

She said that Weinstein’s lawyer said “that Harvey Weinstein and I had a consensual, physical relationship for six months.”

Chiu also revealed that his lawyer and the disgraced producer were “looking at ways to bring legal action against (me) for breaking my NDA. On that day, they threatened to sue me, and there is always that threat.”

“He’s got 111 women speaking out against him, he’s already done one criminal trial in New York and he’s got another upcoming criminal trial in L.A., so to be honest, he’s not going to waste his time or money suing me,” she said of speaking out against him again.

Story continues below advertisement

“I don’t have any money, so what’s the point of suing me? But legally, he’s within his rights to sue me and bring a case against me that says give back the settlement money. Every time I speak out, I run that risk,” Chiu added.

When asked if she regrets signing the NDA, Chiu said: “There was no other way. We didn’t want to sign the NDA. We just wanted to walk away, and we would try, and they would say things like, ‘We know where your parents live.’ So, I felt that we were forced to sign the NDA because of the safety of our friends and family.”

READ MORE: Howard Stern mocks ‘genius’ Donald Trump Jr. following presidential son’s criticism

Chiu is currently working toward preventing people from experiencing what she says she had to go through with her NDA.

“This is just the beginning of what we hope to see as a long-term societal, cultural change,” she said.

In a statement, a representative for the currently incarcerated Weinstein said: “Harvey had always respected Ms. Chiu and treated her as a close and trusted friend. He only has feelings of fondness for her, and ultimately sadness for how her memories of him appeared to have manifested to what we hear today. He always hopes for her best and still wishes her only joy and happiness.”

Story continues below advertisement

You can read Variety’s entire interview with Chiu here.

If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse or is involved in an abusive situation, please visit the Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime for help. They are also reachable toll-free at 1-877-232-2610.