Asia Argento, one of Harvey Weinstein’s first accusers, cut a secret deal when accused of sexual assault
Italian actress, director and #MeToo advocate Asia Argento has become embroiled in her own sexual assault scandal. According to reports from the Hollywood Reporter and the New York Times, Argento paid a 17-year-old actor accused her of improper sexual conduct during the months following her revelations that Harvey Weinstein sexually harassed and raped her.
Jimmy Bennett was paid $380,000 by Argento after his claims that the then 37-year-old actress sexually assaulted him in a California hotel room when he was only 17. The legal age of sexual consent in California is 18.
Bennett’s lawyers sent Argento a notice informing her of their intent to sue in November, claiming that the sexual assault their client experienced at the hands of Argento was so traumatic that it had affected his ability to find acting work and his mental health. Argento received legal documents that detail the allegations against her not long after she went public with her own account of being raped by Harvey Weinstein in 1997 when she was 21, which was exclusively covered in the New Yorker.
Bennett claims that he arrived at a Ritz-Carlton in Marina del Rey, California to meet Asia Argento in her hotel room on May 13th with a family member. Argento requested that she be left alone with Bennett, and the family member honored this request and left the room. Bennett says that Argento then gave him alcohol before showing him notes she had written on what was described as hotel stationary and ultimately performing oral sex on him and then sexual intercourse. Of course, because underaged people cannot give consent, these acts legally constitute rape.
Argento also allegedly requested to take photos with Bennett, and these photos showing the pair in bed, semi-nude were included in the intent to sue notification, along with images showing the pair’s faces which were posted on Instagram. Bennett’s lawyers also claim that Argento positioning herself at the head of the #MeToo movement as well as recounting her story of Harvey Weinstein’s rape triggered their client, according to the legal documents sent to Argento.
Argento worked with Bennett on the set of The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things in 2004. Bennett, then 7 years old, portrayed Argento’s son who was neglected and sexually assaulted by the boyfriend of Argento’s character. In the legal documents, Bennett also lists Argento as a mentor during his career. Bennett is now 22, and his lawyers claim that since this incident occurred, Bennett has been unable to find consistent work due to the traumatic effects of his sexual assault. After then, Bennett only has a handful of acting credits to his name.