The #MeToo movement gave a number of women the courage to come forward and speak openly about their experiences of sexual abuse.
A number of women in Hollywood, including Italian actress and director Asia Argento, came forward to out Harvey Weinstein as the creepy sexual predator that he is.
Now Argento is in hot water after some photos and a text conversation between her and a friend revealed that she had had sex with an underage boy, and then paid him for his silence.
The New York Times reports:
…in the months that followed her revelations about Mr. Weinstein last October, Ms. Argento quietly arranged to pay $380,000 to her own accuser: Jimmy Bennett, a young actor and rock musician who said she had sexually assaulted him in a California hotel room years earlier, when he was only two months past his 17th birthday. She was 37. The age of consent in California is 18.
That claim and the subsequent arrangement for payments are laid out in documents between lawyers for Ms. Argento and Mr. Bennett, a former child actor who once played her son in a movie.
Argento initially denied sleeping with Bennet, but leaked text messages between her and a friend suggested otherwise (her messages are in grey, the friend’s messages are in blue).
You can read the full exchange here.
The documents, which were sent to The New York Times through encrypted email by an unidentified party, include a selfie dated May 9, 2013, of the two lying in bed. As part of the agreement, Mr. Bennett, who is now 22, gave the photograph and its copyright to Ms. Argento, now 42. Three people familiar with the case said the documents were authentic.
Since then, TMZ has managed to obtain a copy of the selfie which shows Argento in bed with Bennet:
This is one of 4 photos Bennett, now 22, took in a Marina del Rey hotel room back in 2013. The then 37-year-old Argento and Bennett are on a bed shirtless, their heads on a pillow and their arms entangled. Sources tell TMZ the pic was taken after the 2 had intercourse. It’s a crime in California for an adult to have sex with a person under 18.
Bennett later threatened legal action and, in April, Argento settled with him for $380,000 … which her boyfriend, Anthony Bourdain, paid.
Argento says that Bennet wrote a note (below) on Ritz-Carlton stationary (the hotel where they did the deed) that said, “Asia, I love you with all my heart. So glad we met again and I’m so glad your [sic] in my life. Jimmy.”
It’s ‘you’re’, Jimmy, said thousands of internet grammar Nazis.
She texts her friend the note, saying, “He wrote me this afterwards and kept sending me unsolicited nudes all these years up until 2 weeks before the attorneys letter.
She goes on to say … “it wasn’t raped (sic) but I was frozen. He was on top of me. After, he told me I had been his sexual fantasy since was 12.”
Argento has accused Harvey Weinstein of rape and is one of the first women to come forward in the #MeToo movement. Weinstein’s lawyer, Ben Brafman, lashed out earlier in the week, saying, “This development reveals a stunning level of hypocrisy by Asia Argento, one of the most vocal catalysts who sought to destroy Harvey Weinstein.”
This kind of situation is tricky. Jimmy Bennet clearly consented, and as Argenta points out in one of her texts, the legal age for consent differs from place to place.
That said, this does necessitate some debate over power dynamics, and how the age of consent is determined in different parts of the world.
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