After coming forward about her sexual assault allegations against public target Harvey Weinstein, actress Asia Argento now faces an accuser of her own. And, she’s paying him $380,000 to essentially keep quiet.
In a Marina Del Rey hotel room in 2013, Argento and actor Jimmy Bennett, who’s often referred to as Argento’s onset son, had a long awaited reunion. Currently, Bennett claims that he was sexually assaulted in that room. At the time, Bennett was just shy of 17 and Argento was 37; the legal age of consent in California is 18.
Just a month before Bennett send a notice of intent to sue Argento, the New Yorker published their famous article calling out Harvey Weinstein and bring forward the women accusers. It was these constant media appearances and commentary that rehashed the wound for the young actor.
Bennett’s original notice of intent had asked Argento for $3.5 million in damages for emotional distress, lost wages, assault, and battery. The child actor originally made $2.7 million in a year, however, now only makes $60,000 a year due to his emotional inability to work post-incident.
Now Bennett is requesting $380,000 for a photograph and the copyrights to said photograph, which shows them together lying down in a hotel bed. According to the New York Times, who was given access to encrypted emails between both parties lawyers, on the day of the incident Argento had asked Bennett’s accompanying family member to leave the two alone.
“She gave him alcohol to drink and showed him a series of notes she had written to him on hotel stationery,” stated the New York Times. “Then she kissed him, pushed him back on the bed, removed his pants and performed oral sex. She climbed on top of him and the two had intercourse. She then asked him to take a number of photos.”
However, dialogue from Argento’s lawyer, Carrie Goldberg, in a letter questions whether Bennett’s claims are totally truthful.
“We hope nothing like this ever happens to you again,” the lawyer wrote. “You are a powerful and inspiring creator and it is a miserable condition of life that you live among sh*tty individuals who’ve preyed both your strengths and weaknesses.”
Bennett and Argento have not spoken since the payment. Under the conditions, Bennett cannot further sue Argento for the claims against her as long as she stays in the agreement, and he cannot share the photo disclosed in the email.