#MeToo: Rose McGowan ‘heartbroken’ by reports Asia Argento made deal to ‘pay off’ own accuser
21st August 2018
Leading #MeToo figure Rose McGowan says “her heart is broken” after a New York Times report revealed that Italian actress and fellow Harvey Weinstein assault accuser Asia Argento settled a sexual assault complaint filed against her by a young actor.
- Documents received by The New York Times include a selfie of the two in bed in 2013
- Asia Argento has not responded to requests for comment
- Jimmy Bennett and Argento played mother and son in a 2004 film
The Times reported that Argento made a deal to settle a notice of intent to sue filed by Jimmy Bennett for $UJS380,000 ($520,000), with the young actor and musician accusing her of sexually assaulting him in a California hotel when he was just 17.
The age of consent in California is 18 and Argento was 37 at the time.
The newspaper said it received court documents that included a selfie of Argento and Bennett in bed and that three people familiar with the case said the documents were authentic.
In the notice received by the Times from an anonymous source via an encrypted transfer, Bennett alleges he had sex with Argento in the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Marina del Rey in 2013. His lawyers sought $4.76 million in damages.
According to the Times, the deal to settle the suit from Bennet, now 22, came shortly after Argento came forward in October to accuse Weinstein of sexual assault.
Argento and her representatives have not responded to requests for comment and Bennett is believed to be preparing a statement.
Reacting to the news on Twitter, McGowan — who was also among the first women to accuse Weinstein of sexual assault — said that while her “heart is broken” by the news she “will continue my work on behalf of victims everywhere”.
A short time later, McGowan tweeted again to say that people should wait for more details to emerge about “the truth of the situation”.
Argento became one of the most well-known activists of the #MeToo movement after she told the New Yorker magazine that Weinstein raped her at the Cannes Film Festival in 1997 when she was 21.
Argento told the magazine that she continued to have a relationship with Weinstein because she was afraid of angering him.
Weinstein has since been indicted on sex crime accusations involving three women, but not including Argento.
Weinstein’s attorney Benjamin Brafman said in an e-mailed statement on Monday, “This development reveals a stunning level of hypocrisy by Asia Argento, one of the most vocal catalysts who sought to destroy Harvey Weinstein.”
Meanwhile, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office said in a Facebook statement that it was aware of media reports naming Argento “as being involved in an alleged 2013 incident” and was trying to reach the actor involved.
The statement, which was attributed to Captain Darren Harris, did not name Bennett but said its Special Victims Bureau “is attempting to reach out to the reported victim and/or his representatives in an effort to appropriately document any potential criminal allegations”.
“To date, the LASD has not located any police report alleging criminal activity within our jurisdiction in relation to this incident,” the statement said.
Who is Jimmy Bennett?
Bennett has been acting since childhood, working alongside top actors in Daddy Day Care, Hostage, Firewall and Evan Almighty.
According to the Times, Bennett made a name for himself on set, charming stars Harrison Ford and Bruce Willis with his ability to nail his lines — earning him the nickname “Jimmy Two-Takes”.
During this time Argento and Bennett co-starred in a 2004 film called The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things in which Argento played Bennett’s sex-worker mother.
Following up with roles in blockbuster films Star Trek and Poseidon, Bennett was a prominent young actor.
The Times reported that in the notice to sue, lawyers said Bennett had earned over $3.6 million in the five years before dropping to an average of just over $80,000 after the alleged assault.
Bennett is also a musician, releasing his first single Over Again in 2011 at just 15.
In recent years, Bennett has had small roles in a range of movies and TV series, while continuing to work on his music career.