Asia Argento came forward as one of the first accusers of movie industry mogul Harvey Weinstein, but now a new report claims that the actress may have committed a sexual assault of her own on an underage actor who she reportedly paid off to keep quiet.
A new report from the New York Times claims that the man, Jimmy Bennett, was 17-years-old when he first accused Argento of sexually assaulting him in a hotel room in California. The report noted that Argento agreed to pay the teen $380,000 in hush money, but Bennett is now planning to file a lawsuit for $3.5 million claiming that the sexual assault left him traumatized and sank his movie career.
Bennett has been working as an actor in Hollywood since he was 6-years-old, with a string of movie and television appearances and a strong reputation for his performances. But the work appeared to level off after the alleged sexual assault.
Asia Argento has been known largely for her accusations against Harvey Weinstein and for her relationship with Anthony Bourdain, who took his life earlier this year. Argento has been held up as one of the most prominent figures of the MeToo movement, with her accusations against Weinstein leading to dozens of women coming forward to also claim that he sexually harassed or assaulted them.
As Fox News noted, she gave an emotional speech at the Cannes Film Festival this year, detailing her alleged rape more than 20 years before.
“In 1997, I was raped by Harvey Weinstein here at Cannes. I was 21 years old,” Argento said at the close of the annual festival. “This festival was his hunting ground. He will live in disgrace, shunned by a film community that once embraced him and covered up for his crimes.”
But seeing Asia Argento hold herself up as a voice for those who suffered sexual assault at the hands of powerful people was too difficult for Jimmy Bennett, his lawyer said. Bennett had been quiet about the alleged assault for nearly five years, the report claimed.
“His feelings about that day were brought to the forefront recently when Ms. Argento took the spotlight as one of the many victims of Harvey Weinstein,” Gordon K. Sattro wrote in a notice of his client’s intent to sue Asia Argento, as reported by the New York Times.
Asia Argento has not commented on her sexual assault allegations, not responding to several requests for an interview from the New York Times.