Asia Argento, one of the women who accused Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault, has warned her own accuser to watch his words ahead of an upcoming interview.
TMZ reports that Argento’s lawyer has asked Jimmy Bennett to exercise caution with what he reveals about “his sexual encounter” with Argento back in 2013. Bennett has a scheduled interview on Italian television station coming up soon.
As The Guardian reports, Bennett claims that he and Argento had sex when he was 17 and that it led to emotional trauma. Argento initially denied that she and Bennett had a sexual relationship, but then text messages between her and a friend seemed to confirm that it happened. One of the images in the text exchange allegedly shows Bennett and Argento topless and in bed.
In one of the texts, Argento reportedly says that she didn’t know that Bennett was underage when they had sex. But she and the 22-year-old actor starred alongside each other in 2004’s The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things. Jimmy Bennett played Argento’s character’s son in the film.
“I did not initially speak out about my story because I chose to handle it in private with the person who wronged me,” Bennett said in a statement published by the Hollywood Reporter. “My trauma resurfaced as she came out as a victim herself. 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.”
In a statement, Asia Argento claimed that her late partner, Anthony Bourdain, paid Bennett in order to deal with his claims privately.
E! Online reports that Bennett requested $380,000 from Argento and Bourdain, but the actress does not plan to pay him the rest of the money. The outstanding balance amounts to $130,000.
“Asia will not permit any portion of the balance of the $380,000 payment to be paid to Bennett,” her attorney, Mark Jay Heller, said in a statement to E! News.
According to TMZ, Bennett’s upcoming interview in Italy is expected to take place this weekend. The letter from Argento’s attorney threatens legal action if the actor makes any statements that are deemed “slanderous, defamatory or untruthful.”
Asia Argento became a prominent face of the “MeToo” movement after she accused Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault. Argento told The New Yorker that Weinstein forcible performed oral sex on her in a Cannes hotel room in 1997. She told the paper that she was reluctant to tell her story for years because of fears that it would undermine her career.