Asia Argento was one of the first to accuse Harvey Weinstein of sexual misconduct, kicking off a huge #MeToo movement that has garnered plenty of traction in the past months. However, a new claim by actor Jimmy Bennett that Argento sexually assaulted him has brought all of the attention back on Asia, creating a highly tense situation.
Bennett claims that Argento assaulted him in 2013 when he was still underage. He said that "I tried to seek justice in a way that made sense to me at the time because I was not ready to deal with the ramifications of my story becoming public." He's likely referring to the $380,000 settlement money that he received, supposedly from Anthony Bourdain. The Daily Mail noted that the settlement amount was more than half of Bourdain's cash and savings at the time.
Jimmy then goes on to describe that "At the time I believed there was still a stigma to being in the situation as a male in our society." However, he noted that he saw many victims coming forward as part of the #MeToo movement.
"Many brave women and men have spoken out about their own experiences during the #metoo movement, and I appreciate the bravery that it took for each and every one of them to take such a stand."So while Asia helped push the #MeToo movement into the public discourse, Bennett was taking note of how people's perceptions were changing when it came to sexual assaults. And he also added that "I have not made a public statement in the past days and hours because I was ashamed and afraid to be part of the public narrative." But it appears he no longer feels this way, as he declared that "I would like to move past this event in my life, and today I choose to move forward, no longer in silence."Police are reportedly involved, and while the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department has made contact with Bennett and his lawyer, no charges have been filed yet. A formal investigation has yet to be announced.
Argento responded to the original New York Times piece that first publicized Bennett's claims, saying that "I strongly deny and oppose the contents of the New York Times article... I am deeply shocked and hurt by having read news that is absolutely false. I have never had any sexual relationship with Bennett."Things also took another turn when TMZ published information that seemed to contradict Asia's claim. In the meantime, Asia has canceled her appearance at Le Guess Who music festival in the wake of these accusations.
Bennett says that the sexual assault took place when he was 17 years old and Argento was 37 years old. It allegedly took place in a California hotel, detailed CNN. Jimmy initially asked for $3.5 million in damages one month after Asia went public with her allegations against Weinstein. That was later settled by the $380,000 payment.