by Rob Shimshock
A leader of the #MeToo movement allegedly paid off her own sexual assault victim after accusing film producer Harvey Weinstein of a 1997 rape in October 2017.
Italian director and actress Asia Argento, one of Weinstein’s first public accusers, apparently paid actor and musician Jimmy Bennett $380,000 in exchange for his agreement not to sue her after she allegedly sexually assaulted him in 2013, The New York Times reported Sunday. Argento was 37 years old and Bennett was 17 years old at the time of the incident.
“We hope nothing like this ever happens to you again,” Argento’s lawyer, Carrie Goldberg, wrote in an April letter 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.”
Bennett’s own lawyer, Gordon Sattro, described a “sexual battery” perpetrated by Argento on Bennett that affected both the musician’s mental health and income, in a November letter he sent to lawyer Richard Hofstetter, who was then representing Argento.
Bennett asked Argento for $3.5 million in damages for lost wages, emotional distress, battery and assault. The actor had made over $2.7 million in the five years leading up to the alleged 2013 incident, but he has since earned an average of $60,000 per year.
Argento obtained the copyright for a May 9, 2013 photo from Bennett featuring the two of them lying in bed as part of the parties’ agreement. The New York Times obtained access to this photo via an encrypted email from an anonymous party.
Bennett cannot sue Argento for sexual assault, as per the parties’ agreement, however, Goldberg told Argento that the musician could publicly address the claims.
“In the coming days, Jimmy will continue doing what he has been doing over the past months and years, focusing on his music,” Sattro told The New York Times.
Argento did not respond to multiple requests for comment from The New York Times. Her late boyfriend, celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain, committed suicide in June.
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