Asia Argento: Let's Talk About 'Phase 2' of #MeToo

Actress's lawyer says it was Jimmy Bennett who sexually assaulted his client, not other way around
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 5, 2018 8:39 AM CDT
In this May 17, 2009, file photo, Italian actress Asia Argento arrives on the red carpet for the screening of "Vengeance" during the 62nd International film festival in Cannes, France.   (AP Photo/Matt Sayles, File)

(Newser) – Asia Argento has already strongly denied the story of Jimmy Bennett, the man who says she sexually abused him when he was a teen—and now she says Bennett was the abuser, not the victim. Mark Jay Heller, the #MeToo advocate's lawyer, tells TMZ it was Bennett who sexually assaulted Argento five years ago, when he was just 17 and she was 37, and that text messages from Argento publicized by TMZ prove it. "The horny kid jumped me … I had sex with him it felt weird," read one Argento message to a friend, ostensibly about the alleged 2015 encounter between Argento and Bennett at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Marina del Rey, Calif. "I was frozen. He was on top of me," she wrote in another message, though she noted, "It wasn't [rape]." "Asia chose at the time not to prosecute Bennett for sexually attacking her," Heller tells TMZ.

He adds the $380,000 payout offered to Bennett by Argento's boyfriend, Anthony Bourdain, was because Bennett tried to extort Argento, and Bourdain simply wanted to protect her, even though the pair contended Argento did nothing wrong. Per E! News, Heller also notes in a statement that Bourdain paid Bennett $250,000 before he died earlier this year, and that Bennett won't be seeing a cent more from Argento. Also in Heller's statement: accusations that the 22-year-old himself was charged by the LAPD in 2014 with "stalking" and "unlawful sex with a minor"—though, per what Heller calls "Phase Two" of the #MeToo movement, Bennett should still have the right to accuse others of sexual misconduct, even if some of his own alleged behavior has been inappropriate. Meanwhile, per Deadline, Rose McGowan made the rounds in UK media this week, saying she felt "betrayed" by Argento. (Read more Asia Argento stories.)

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