#MeToo: Female Sexual Assault Accuser Settles With Her Own Accuser Following Allegations of Sexual Assault
OK, I know, settling with someone doesn’t necessarily imply that the person is guilty. Sometimes it is simply to get it out of the media’s sights, especially when you are in the spotlight. However, I find it ironic that Italian actress and #MeToo champion Asia Argento, who was one of the first to come forward and accuser movie mogul Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault, has now settled a sexual assault allegation brought against her for $380,000.
The New York Times reports:
But in the months that followed her revelations about Mr. Weinstein last October, Ms. Argento quietly arranged to pay $380,000 to her own accuser: Jimmy Bennett, a young actor and rock musician who said she had sexually assaulted him in a California hotel room years earlier, when he was only two months past his 17th birthday. She was 37. The age of consent in California is 18.
That claim and the subsequent arrangement for payments are laid out in documents between lawyers for Ms. Argento and Mr. Bennett, a former child actor who once played her son in a movie.
The documents, which were sent to The New York Times through encrypted email by an unidentified party, include a selfie dated May 9, 2013, of the two lying in bed. As part of the agreement, Mr. Bennett, who is now 22, gave the photograph and its copyright to Ms. Argento, now 42. Three people familiar with the case said the documents were authentic.
The Times has tried repeatedly since Thursday to get a response to the matter from Ms. Argento and her representatives. She did not reply to messages left on her phone, sent by email and sent to two of her agents, who agreed to forward it to her. Carrie Goldberg, her lawyer who handled the matter, read email messages from The Times, according to two people familiar with the case, but she has not responded. A woman who answered the phone at Ms. Goldberg’s office on Friday said the lawyer would not be available to discuss this article.
Mr. Bennett, who lives in Los Angeles, would not agree to be interviewed, said his lawyer, Gordon K. Sattro. “In the coming days,” Mr. Sattro wrote in an email, “Jimmy will continue doing what he has been doing over the past months and years, focusing on his music.”
In an April letter addressed to Ms. Argento confirming the final details of the deal and setting out a schedule of payments, Ms. Goldberg characterized the money as “helping Mr. Bennett.”
“We hope nothing like this ever happens to you again,” Ms. Goldberg wrote. “You are a powerful and inspiring creator and it is a miserable condition of life that you live among shitty individuals who’ve preyed on both your strengths and your weaknesses.”
What’s amazing is that Argento continues to receive support from her fellow #MeToo companions like Rose McGowan. McGowan, after hearing of Argento’s settlement, tweeted out, “I got to know Asia Argento ten months ago. Our commonality is the shared pain of being assaulted by Harvey Weinstein. My heart is broken. I will continue my work on behalf of victims everywhere.”
I got to know Asia Argento ten months ago. Our commonality is the shared pain of being assaulted by Harvey Weinstein. My heart is broken. I will continue my work on behalf of victims everywhere.
— rose mcgowan (@rosemcgowan) August 20, 2018
Your heart is broken? Why are you not as outraged at Argento as you were at Harvey Weinstein? Is it because it’s a woman or because she appeared to be on your side?
Look, I’m under no illusions that there are plenty of children, men and women in Hollywood who have been victimized by sexual predators. We’ve heard the stories for years, but for some of these people, they were of age when it happened and instead of opening their mouths when it occurred, they kept their mouths shut to enjoy fame and fortune and only when they had the opportunity to enjoy more fame and fortune did they speak out. Ask yourself why that is.
In my opinion, this settlement is just the latest in the hypocrisy of those jumping on the bandwagon crying victim when they don’t think it will hurt their careers.