Asia Argento’s Accuser, Jimmy Bennett, Speaks Out About Alleged Sexual Abuse
Asia Argento, Italian actress and prominent leader in the #MeToo movement, was recently accused by former costar Jimmy Bennett of sexual assault. Bennett played Argento’s son in the 2004 film The Heart is Deceitful in All Things and the former child star alleges that, in 2013, Argento — who was 37 at the time — sexually assaulted him in her hotel room when he was 17. Argento quietly agreed to a settlement of $380,000 in 2014, but in the wake of #MeToo, Bennett said that he felt compelled to go public with his story.
Argento has been a prominent figure in the #MeToo movement ever since she accused Harvey Weinstein of rape last year. In response to Bennett’s public accusation, Argento released a statement to the Huffington Post where she denied Bennett’s accusation. “I am deeply shocked and hurt by having read news that is absolutely false,” said Argento. “I have never had any sexual relationship with Bennett.” Argento claims that Bennett was having economic troubles at the time and that he confronted her and late boyfriend Anthony Bourdain in an attempt to gain money from two public figures that had reputations to protect. She said that she and Bourdain wished to handle the matter quietly and to “show compassion” for Bennett’s struggles.
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Bennett has since released a statement to CNN in response to Argento’s denial. Bennett praised the bravery of the victims who have spoken out against sexual misconduct in the #MeToo movement and said that they inspired him to come forward with his story. “I did not initially speak out about my story because I chose to handle it in private with the person who wronged me. 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,” Bennett said. “I was underage when the event took place, and I tried to seek justice in a way that made sense to me at the time because I was not ready to deal with the ramifications of my story becoming public. At the time I believed there was still a stigma to being in the situation as a male in our society. I didn’t think that people would understand the event that took place from the eyes of a teenage boy.” Bennett went on to say that he wants to move past this traumatic event, but he will no longer do so in silence.
In spite of Argento’s denial that she and Bennett ever had a sexual relationship, TMZ has acquired photos of the two naked in bed and screenshots of texts between Argento and a friend about the situation. In the texts, Argento admits to having a sexual encounter with Bennett, but denies it as rape.
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