A new report alleges that Asia Argento "quietly arranged" to pay $380,000 to actor Jimmy Bennett, who accused the celebrated multi-hyphenate of sexually assaulting him in 2013.
According to the New York Times, Bennett—who acted alongside Argento in her 2004 film The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things—was 17 at the time of the alleged incident. Following the shoot, the two kept in touch, with their relationship described in social media posts and in the new Times report as akin to a mother-son relationship. In 2013, Bennett was allegedly driven to a Ritz-Carlton in Marina del Rey, California by a family member, who then left.
At this point, Argento is alleged to have provided alcohol before engaging in sexual intercourse:
"She gave him alcohol to drink and showed him a series of notes she had written to him on hotel stationery. Then she kissed him, pushed him back on the bed, removed his pants and performed oral sex. She climbed on top of him and the two had intercourse, the document says. She then asked him to take a number of photos."
"We hope nothing like this ever happens to you again," Carrie Goldberg, the attorney who reportedly helped with the newly reported payment and accompanying arrangement, said in an April 2018 letter addressed to Argento. "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."
The agreement between Argento and Bennett, who settled with his mother and stepfather over an earnings dispute in 2014, reportedly includes $380,000 paid out over 18 months. Bennett has also given copyright of a selfie (included in the documents) to Argento. Additionally, neither person is barred from discussing the agreement.
Actress/activist Rose McGowan addressed the report early Monday, cautioning that "none of us know the truth" about Argento and Bennett. "I got to know Asia Argento ten months ago," she said on Twitter. "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." Weinstein, disgraced former Weinstein Company pig, has been accused of sexual harassment or assault by more than 80 different women.
#MeToo founder Tarana Burke also spoke on the report, echoing McGowan's caution and pointing to the continued importance of the movement at large. "It will continued 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," she said. "Sexual violence is about power and privilege."