WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Asia Argento, a powerful voice in the #MeToo movement, reportedly paid off a former child actor who accused her of sexual assault.
- Her accuser Jimmy Bennett, who played Argento’s son in a film, was only 17 when the alleged incident happened.
- Meanwhile, Argento accused Harvey Weinstein of raping her during the 1997 Cannes Film Festival.
Actress and director Asia Argento became a strong leader in the #MeToo movement in May after she revealed American film producer Harvey Weinstein sexually assaulted her.
“In 1997, I was raped by Harvey Weinstein — here at Cannes. I was 21 years old. This festival was his hunting ground,” she said amid loud cheers and applause.
Now, the 42-year-old #MeToo advocate faces her own sexual assault allegations. On Sunday, the New York Times reported that Argento paid her accuser $380,000 months after she publicly accused Weinstein.
Her accuser is Jimmy Bennett, 22, who once played as her son in a 2004 film. The two met again on May 9, 2013, for a reunion at the Ritz-Carlton in Marina del Rey, California. Argento posted a photo of the reunion showing her hugging Bennett, with a caption: “My son, my love.”
Bennett, who was 17 at the time of the alleged assault, claimed that the allegation and the payment agreement are laid out in documents between lawyers for both parties. It was not clear if Argento admitted the accusation.
According to the New York Times, the document said Bennett arrived at the Ritz-Carlton with a family member, but Argento asked the family member to leave. Argento then started kissing the teen when they were left alone. Afterward, she removed his pants, performed oral sex, and then had sex with him.
One of Weinstein’s lawyer released a statement accusing Argento of being a hypocrite.
“The sheer duplicity of her conduct is quite extraordinary and should demonstrate to everyone how poorly the allegations against Mr. Weinstein were actually vetted and accordingly, cause all of us to pause and allow due process to prevail, not condemnation by fundamental dishonesty,” the statement said.
Genie Harrison, an attorney for one of Weinstein’s victims, said abuse of power cannot ever be ignored, even if the alleged abuser is a #MeToo leader.
“Though it seems incomprehensible for victims to become victimizers, history and storytelling are replete with examples of exactly this transformation,” Harrison said.
Meanwhile, Daniel Medwed, a professor of law and criminal justice at Northeastern University in Boston, said that despite Argento’s powerful role in #MeToo, the movement is much larger than any one person.
“There are many other strong voices contributing to the discourse. The movement can’t be derailed at this stage. It’s something that has been brewing for decades,” Medwed said.
Source: LA Times