Asia Argento Reportedly Agreed to Pay Off an Actor Who Accused Her of Sexual Assault
Actress and filmmaker Asia Argento is most recently known for being a prominent voice in the #MeToo movement since she shared her own Harvey Weinstein story last fall, and as the girlfriend of the late Anthony Bourdain. A new report from The New York Times has now revealed that Argento allegedly made a deal to quietly pay off her own accuser.
According to The Times, Argento recently agreed to pay $380,000 to a young actor and musician who has accused her of sexual assault. In documents and letters leaked to the paper, Jimmy Bennett, now 22 years old, claimed Argento sexually assaulted him in a California hotel room in 2013, when he was 17 and she was 37. The story notes that the legal age of consent in the state is 18.
The two had known each other for years before the alleged incident. In 2003 they both acted in Argento’s film The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things, in which Bennett played the son of Argento’s character. They stayed in contact since and reunited at Argento’s Marina del Rey hotel in the spring of 2013. According to the documents, Bennett said Argento asked a family member to leave so the two could be alone, gave him alcohol, kissed him, performed oral sex, and then had intercourse with him. The two then took photos, which Argento posted on her Instagram. In the notice of intent, Bennett said after leaving the hotel he began to feel “extremely confused, mortified, and disgusted.”
About a month after Argento came forward about being sexually assaulted by Weinstein in a New Yorker exposé last October, Bennett’s lawyers sent Argento a notice of intent. Bennett said seeing Argento in the spotlight as a Weinstein accuser and victim of assault brought back his own memories of their hotel reunion. Bennett initially asked Argento for $3.5 million in damages, claiming the assault threatened his mental health as well as his income and acting career. She reportedly agreed to pay him $380,000 and made an initial payment of $200,000 this past April.
Rose McGowan, who became close with Argento throughout the #MeToo movement, responded to the news on Twitter on Monday.
Though The Times said they’ve been reaching out to Argento’s reps since last Thursday, neither she or her lawyers have commented on the report.