Culture&Arts

Asia Argento: leading figure of #MeToo movement accused of sexual assault

Asia Argento: leading figure of #MeToo movement accused of sexual assault

The NYT alleges, however, that as she was assuming her #MeToo mantle Argento was quietly paying $380,000 to actor Jimmy Bennett, who says Argento sexually assaulted him a few years ago when he was 17.

Actress Asia Argento reportedly denied sexual assault allegations levied against her and said that her late boyfriend Anthony Bourdain paid her accuser Jimmy Bennett because the then-couple considered him "dangerous" after he asked for financial assistance. Our commonality is the shared pain of being assaulted by Harvey Weinstein.

Allegedly, Argento got Bennett liquored up and performed oral sex on him before engaging in intercourse. She said he'd raped her at the festival in 1997, and predicted he'd be shunned and never welcomed back to the festival now that his predatory history had come to light.

The notice says the encounter traumatised Bennett and hurt his career, "The Times" reported.

In a statement published by Vanity Fair, a lawyer for Mr Bennett said his client would not comment but would take the "next 24 hours, or longer, to prepare his response".

In her first public comments since the article, Argento said she had been linked to Bennett over several years "by friendship only". "Anthony was afraid of the possible negative publicity that such person, whom he considered risky, could have brought upon us", Argento said.

'Anthony personally undertook to help Bennett economically, upon the condition that we would no longer suffer any further intrusions in our life, ' writes Argento in her statement.

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She continued, "Bennett - who was undergoing severe economic problems and who had previously undertaken legal actions against his own family requesting millions in damages - unexpectedly made an exorbitant request of money from me".

At the time Argento was romantically involved with celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain, who killed himself in June.

Harvey Weinstein's lawyer Benjamin Brafman has already seized on the news, calling it the height of hypocrisy.

McGowan has gained stature as a victims' advocate in the year since the Weinstein allegations first broke in the New York Times and New Yorker last October.

Investigators have learned no police report was filed at the time, Harris said.

Weinstein has been indicted on sex crimes accusations involving three women, but Argento is not one of them.