Overnight, news broke that Asia Argento, the Italian actress who was among the first to publicly accuse Harvey Weinstein of sexual misconduct, secretly paid hush money to a young male actor who accused her of sexual assault in the months following her shaming of the disgraced media mogul.
Former child actor, Jimmy Bennett alleges that in 2013, Argento – who was then 37-years-old – assaulted him in a hotel room when he was only 17.
Legal documents detail the sordid accusations against Argento. Bennett claims that the sexual assault was so traumatic that it affected his mental health and delayed his acting career.
Bennett alleges he arrived at the Ritz-Carlton in Marina del Rey, California to meet Argento in her hotel room on May 10, 2013 with a family member.
After Argento asked to be alone with Bennett, he claims that she gave him alcohol and shortly after, proceeded to kiss him, perform oral sex on him, and have intercourse with him.
After Argento presented herself as a victim of sexual assault and took a leading role in the #MeToo movement, legal documents claim that Bennett was reminded of his own assault.
Being such a prominent figure in the #MeToo camp, Asia Argento has directly impacted the credibility and reputation of the entire cause.
Earlier this year, Argento also gave a speech at the close of the Cannes Film Festival. Her diatribe focused heavily on Harvey Weinstein, those who allegedly enabled him, and others in the industry who had yet to be exposed.
And even tonight, sitting among you, there are those who still have to be held accountable for their conduct against women, for behavior that does not belong in this industry, does not belong in any industry or work place. You know who you are, but most importantly — we know who you are and we’re not going to allow you to get away with it any longer…
Notably, in April, speaking of the #MeToo movement, Argento said that it was “the most important thing that has happened to women since the right to vote”. It would be entirely redundant to point out the irony in her statement.
The debacle and scandal of inter-connected Hollywood grows worse over time. Serial manipulator and sex abuser Harvey Weinstein was bad enough; with the scores of names that stand accused and smeared (quite often) baselessly in the public eye, it makes you wonder how many more cases like Argento’s lurk just beneath the surface. Argento saw fit to lead the charge against sexual misconduct while having skeletons in her closet that ultimately led to her fall from grace.