Asia Argento was one of the first of so many to publicly accuse Harvey Weinstein of rape.
Now, Asia has reportedly been accused of sexual assault by a former child actor.
Documents reveal the incident took place when he was 17 — and that Asia paid him money to keep him from suing.
At Cannes, Asia Argento accused some of the audience of having known that Harvey Weinstein had raped her.
Now, The New York Times has obtained documents that show that Asia Argento made a deal with her own accuser to prevent him from either suing her or sharing a photo of the two of them.
Back in 2004, a child actor named Jimmy Bennett played her son in a film. In 2013, the two of them reunited, and Argento posted photos on Instagram.
Bennett was now 17, and it was a few months after his birthday. Argento is 20 years his senior.
According to documents, at a Ritz-Carlton hotel in Marina del Rey, CA on May 9, 2013, she plied him with alcohol, performed oral sex upon him in her hotel room, and then had sexual intercourse with him.
Argento shared more innocuous images of the two of them on Instagram at the time, captioning: “Happiest day of my life reunion with @jimmymbennett xox.”
The accusations say that their reunion went well beyond dinner between former costars.
He was 17, she was 37. In the United States, that is a crime.
Just before the news broke about Harvey Weinstein’s creepiness, an attorney for Bennett reached out to Argento expressing an intent to sue over sexual battery of a minor.
The attorney claimed to have evidence, including a photograph of the two of them laying topless in bed together.
Argento, whose net worth is estimated to be about $ 16 million, reportedly agreed to pay out $ 380,000 to Bennett in multiple installments.
Not insignificantly, Argento, who has been outspoken about the harm that non-disclosure agreements can do, did not require Bennett to sign an NDA.
The agreement only prevents Bennett from suing Argento or from sharing the photograph that he has of the two of them. He is and remains allowed to tell people.
Argento’s attorney wrote to her in an email: “Ultimately, you decided against the non-disclosure [NDA] language because you felt it was inconsistent with the public messages you’ve conveyed about the societal perils of non-disclosure agreements.”
Neither Argento nor her representatives have responded to anyone’s requests for comments so far.
Some have leapt to Argento’s defense.
First, there are the unspeakable folks who think that male victims of sexual assault — especially minors who had sex with adult women — should feel grateful for “living every dude’s fantasy.”
That’s not every guy’s fantasy, folks. It’s also illegal with good reason.
There are others pointing out that Argento is Italian, and Bennett was years over Italy’s age of consent at the time. He was also above Italy’s drinking age.
Well, they weren’t in Italy — they were in the United States. We’d love to see a day when all countries share the same (just) laws, but that day has yet to arrive.
It’s not like she was 20. She was 37. They were former costars but they were not peers.
Jimmy Bennett is now 22. He has no apparent interest in speaking about this incident.
An attorney representing him told The New York Times that “In the coming days, Jimmy will continue doing what he has been doing over the past months and years, focusing on his music.”
It is absolutely his right to not speak about this. No survivor of sexual assault or sexual abuse has to speak about it, especially if they were a minor when it happened.
It is important that we remember that Argento’s own alleged misdeeds do not in any way negate Weinstein’s.
The allegations against him come from many sources, and they are no less serious now than they were before.