Asia Argento, 42, settled the notice of intent to sue filed by Jimmy Bennett, who is now 22, for $380,000 shortly after she said last October that movie mogul Harvey Weinstein raped her, the Times reported.
And as a leading figure in the #MeToo Movement described the Cannes Film Festival Harvey Weinstein’s “hunting ground” with more abusers “yet to be unmasked” (telegraph.co.uk, May 2018) with much rapturous #MeToo solidarity on stage at Cannes’ Grand Theatre Lumière earlier in the year.
Indeed, that’s irony some seemingly spy now biting her on the arse.
The notice claims that Bennett arrived at the Ritz-Carlton in Marina del Rey to meet Argento in her hotel room on 10 May 2013, with a family member. Argento asked to be alone with Bennett and the family member left. Bennett claims Argento gave him alcohol before proceeding to kiss him and perform oral sex before having intercourse with him.
With Bennett in 2013 being aged 17 when the events allegedly occurred, with the age of consent in California being 18.
Bennett had co-starred at the age of 7 with Argento in a 2004 film The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things, in which Argento played Bennett’s drug-taking prostitute mother struggling to care for young son but instead persuading him to cross-dress and act as her increasingly seductive “little sister”.
The notice states that Argento then asked to take a number of photos with him, and indeed some semi-clothed snaps in bed included with the notice as well as an Instagram post from the time recounting:
“Waiting for my long lost son my love @jimmymbennett in trepidation #marinadelrey smoking cigarettes like there was no next week”
“Trepidation” presumably being a state of palpitation afflicting anxiety about what is about to happen rather than somewhere quaint in the Los Angeles seaside community and social media oversharing proving again to be something of a metaphorical albatross about one’s neck.
So, does this mean she has to give back her #TimesUp badge?
Rose McGowan says her ‘heart is broken’ as she distances herself from Asia Argento after Italian star is accused of sexually assaulting actor who played her son and paying him off with $380K (dailymail.co.uk).
The pair starring together in Citizen Rose (imdb.com), spreading her message of “bravery, art, joy and survival” in a post-Weinstein #MeToo world and McGowan acted as Argento’s spokesperson on the death of the actress’ culinary bad boy boyfriend Anthony Bourdain.
“I got to know Asia Argento ten months ago. Our commonality is the shared pain of being assaulted by Harvey Weinstein. My heart is broken. I will continue my work on behalf of victims everywhere,” wrote McGowan on Twitter early Monday.
Not quite pushing her under the bus, suggested that watchers “be gentle” as “the truth of the situation” is not yet known, and thankfully Citizen Rose’s martyrial “I” will allow her to continue on behalf of those victims everywhere.
But not quite so “gentle”:
“Sexual assault is about power and privilege,” and “that doesn’t change if the perpetrator is your favorite actress, activist or professor of any gender.”
But was keen to address how the news could be used to discredit the movement:
People will use these recent news stories to try and discredit this movement—don’t let that happen. This is what Movement is about. It’s not a spectator sport. It is people generated. We get to say “this is/isn’t what this movement is about!”
As of yet no official statement has come from either Argento or Bennett.
Updated 21st August 2018
Will it go any further? The same was asked about Weinstein of course with many of the #MeToo Movement demanding.
Asia Argento: police investigate sexual assault claim against actor (theguardian.com).
Police are looking into sexual assault allegations by a young actor against Italian actor Asia Argento—one of the most prominent activists of the #MeToo movement.
Having learnt that no police report was filed at time of alleged 2013 assault. A lawyer for Bennett however has now released a statement to the Associated Press, albeit that he “does not wish to comment on the documents or the events” at this time.
And finally making a statement:
In a statement, she says: “I have never had any sexual relationship with Bennett”.
Strongly denying the contents of the NYT article but admitting a payment was made but denying the sex but suggesting it was a shakedown even without it, saying that the relationship was “friendship only” which ended after Bennett “unexpectedly made an exorbitant request of money from me”, a request she was unable to refuse and seemingly linking it with Anthony Bourdain’s suicide with her statement saying Bourdain wanted the matter to “be handled privately and this was also what Bennett wanted”.
“Anthony was afraid of the possible negative publicity that such person, whom he considered dangerous, could have brought upon us.
“We decided to deal compassionately with Bennett’s demand for help and give it to him.”
Lawyers for Weinstein have of course jumped at the opportunity it provides:
Ben Brafman, a lawyer for Mr Weinstein, said the development revealed “a stunning level of hypocrisy by Asia Argento”.
Updated 22nd August 2018
Further dragging the late Bourdain into it:
She acknowledges Anthony paid, saying, “Anthony personally undertook to help Bennett economically.” She goes on to say Bennett was litigious and made exorbitant money demands and they wanted to “no longer suffer any further intrusions in our life.”
But Bourdain, who had been dating Argento for over a year before his death, also saying in text messages on the decision as to whether to pay: “Or you just tell him to f*** himself. Either way, I am with you.”
And, for journalism’s sake, seeing fit to publish one of the semi-clothed snaps in bed taken:
This is one of 4 photos Bennett, now 22, took in a Marina del Rey hotel room back in 2013. The then 37-year-old Argento and Bennett are on a bed shirtless, their heads on a pillow and their arms entangled. Sources tell TMZ the pic was taken after the 2 had intercourse. It’s a crime in California for an adult to have sex with a person under 18.
But note taken that TMZ are seemingly referring to Bennett taking the snaps rather than Argento asking to take a number of photos with him as was stated in earlier reports. One might say he don’t look too unhappy.
Updated 27th August 2018
According to the Italian media, the producers—FremantleMedia Italia and Sky Italia—had previously decided if the allegations were true, she would no longer be welcome on the show.
The seven episodes already made will air but Argento’s role as judge cut from the rest of the series.
Next page: Asia Argento responds with claim that that Jimmy Bennett assaulted and was extorting her and boyfriend Anthony Bourdain, police report Bennett will file sexual assault charges.