Asia Argento, an actress who was one of the first to accuse Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault, is now claiming that the underage boy she had sex with in 2013 actually raped her.
Argento’s accusations against Weinstein were the beginning of the media mogul’s meteoric fall and the rise of the #metoo movement, leading to an unprecedented flood of women, and men, speaking out about decades of abuse by powerful Hollywood insiders. Her initial courageous stance made her a rightful hero.
However, in August, actor Jimmy Bennet accused Argento herself of having sexually assaulted him when he was 17 and she was 37. The event occurred in 2013 in California, where the age of consent is 18, while Bennet was playing Argento’s son in a movie she directed. (In the film, Bennet’s character is raped by a boyfriend of his mother’s and then convinced by her to cross-dress as a seductive “little sister”). Bennet stated that he did not speak out earlier because at the time he chose to handle the matter in private, and he feared the stigma and possible social rejection attached to being a male victim of sexual assault.
Argento at first denied that any sexual relationship between the two occurred, despite confirmed text message and photographic evidence leaving little doubt that it had. She made an $380,000 legal settlement with Bennet last October. She has also stated that she actually did not know that he was a minor while he was working on her movie.
Now, her story has changed, and she claims that the settlement was actually done by her late boyfriend Anthony Bourdain, out of pity for Bennett’s financial situation. Somehow, this was done to protect Argento. In addition, her lawyer stated that she will be refusing to pay the remaining $130,000, since Bourdain is now dead.
He also claims that Argento’s position now is that it was actually Bennet who forced himself on her, an assertion which seems not only baseless but in fact contradicted by the fore-mentioned textual and graphic evidence.
Argento’s rapid downward spiral brings to mind actor Kevin Spacey’s similar behavior. After being accused of molesting a 14-year-old boy at a party, followed by another wave of people speaking out against him, Spacey first tried to deflect condemnation by coming out as gay, and then by claiming that it was actually due to himself having experienced childhood sexual abuse at the hands of his purportedly gay Nazi father.