Words by Andre Kettle
The skeletons are starting to come out of the closet.
Harvey Weinstein’s former assistant is speaking out despite inking non-disclosure agreement, claiming that she doesn’t care to tell the world about her experience dealing with Harvey’s sexual harassment.
Rowena was not able to do an in-person but was able to still tell her story from her home in California in her recent interview with Variety.
A New York jury found Harvey Weinstein guilty of sexually assaulting a former production assistant and raping a former aspiring actress. He was sentenced to 23 years in prison. On March 11, he was taken to Rikers Island. Then a week later, he was transferred to Wende Correctional Facility, a maximum-security prison in upstate New York.
But it isn’t going to be easy to speak freely about the situation, the now stay-at-home mom states that there is a “risk” and that Chiu can be sued at any time. But she is continually working with the NDA’s in the U.K. in changing the legislation of the laws where she was living at the time and worked for the company Miramax.
“NDAs should be banned as a tool to cover up sexual harassment, unequivocally,” Rowena said of the laws currently supporting the NDAs. She continued saying “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.”
Rowena explained that she doesn’t hold Harvey accountable for alleged actions, but the “system that enables this behavior.” She has been traumatized and recalls the day being pushed onto a bed and having her tights being ripped off.
During the 90s, Rowena revealed that while coming to terms in agreement with NDA, his legal team tried to force her to turn over “a list of names and addresses of our friends and family.” Trying to renegotiate for a better clause in the contract she feared that her loved ones would be in danger she gave in.
“I thought Harvey would hire people to go around to my boyfriend’s apartment or my poor parents and there would be black vans sitting outside their home,” she says.
Chiu is now working towards preventing mostly women and men from experiencing the same experience that she went through. She hopes that “This is just the beginning of what we hope to see as a long-term societal, cultural change.”
Weinstein’s legal team denies any and all accusations of nonconsensual sexual encounters. A rep for the disgraced producer recently told Variety, “Harvey had always respected Ms. Chiu and treated her as a close and trusted friend. He only has feelings and fondness for her…He always hopes for her best and still wishes her only joy and happiness.”