STUDIO CITY—One of the member’s of the MeToo Movement, actress Asia Argento has been accused of sexual assault. The New York Times reported that Argento paid Jimmy Bennett $380,000 for his silence regarding the abuse, which allegedly occurred when Bennett was a minor.
Documents regarding the abuse were sent to the Times, with a selfie from May 9, 2013 of Argento and Bennett in bed. According to reports, the picture was taken of the two in California, where it is alleged that Argento got Bennett who was 17 at the time, drunk, and performed oral sex and had intercourse with him.
On the day of the alleged assault, Argento posted several photos on her Instagram. Some referenced or tagged Bennett, with others including pictures of Bennett and Argento. One of the captions read, “My son my love until I will live @jimmymbennett marina del rey 05.2013.”
According to the New York Times, Bennett viewed Argento as a mother figure in his life. The two first met when filming the 2004 movie, “The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things.” Bennett portrayed Argento’s son in the movie. Bennett said he felt “extremely confused, mortified, and disgusted.”
The monetary transactions between Argento and Bennett occurred after the actress accused film mogul Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault. The case was apparently settled in December 2014. After originally asking for $3.5 million from Argento, Bennett later lowered the amount to $380,000, which TMZ reported was paid by Argento’s boyfriend at the time, Chef Anthony Bourdain. Bourdain passed away in June 2018.
On Wednesday, August 22, TMZ released a photo of Argento in bed with the younger Bennett. TMZ also acquired text messages in which Argento wrote, “I had sex with him it felt weird. I didn’t know he was a minor until the shakedown letter.” She continued to write, “The public knows nothing, only what NYT wrote. Which is one sided. The shakedown letter. The horny kid jumped me.”
When asked about the allegations, Argento claimed they were false and that she and Bennett never had sex. She said that the money was given to Bennett to help him economically. She indicated her late husband Anthony Bourdain knew about the transaction.
Bennett responded publicly once Argento denied the allegations. “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,” said Bennett.
He echoed sentiments to MeToo activists, explaining why he did not come forward sooner. “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.”
“I have had to overcome many adversities in my life, and this is another that I will deal with, in time…I would like to move past this event in my life, and today I choose to move forward, no longer in silence,” said Bennett.
Tarana Burke, who started the MeToo movement, spoke on the issue on Monday, August 20.
“I’ve said repeatedly that the #metooMVMT is for all of us, including these brave young men who are now coming forward. It will continue to be jarring when we hear the names of some of our faves connected to sexual violence unless we shift from talking about individuals, and begin to talk about power,” said Burke.