When the floodgates of accusations of sexual assault, harassment and misconduct opened in 2017 against now-disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, Italian actress Asia Argento came forward as one of his fiercest accusers.
But the script was flipped on Argento last month when she found herself on the receiving end of accusations of sexual misconduct. It was revealed that she had paid a six-figure settlement to a former co-star named Jimmy Bennett who had alleged that Argento had sexually assaulted him when he was just 17-years-old and she was 37-years-old.
Argento was immediately revealed to be a hypocrite for portraying herself as a victim of Weinstein while she was also accused of having victimized others herself, but now she is turning the tables on her own accuser and fighting back with the help of her attorney to now claim that it was she who was victimized by Bennett, and not the other way around.
In a New York Post article published in August, Argento denied the sexual assault allegations made against her and claimed that the $380,000 settlement agreed to with Bennett had been the idea of her late boyfriend Anthony Bourdain, who committed suicide in June.
Argento said in a statement at that time that Bennett’s claims against her were “absolutely false” and denied ever having “any sexual relationship” with the young man at all.
However, social media posts from the time of the incident in question in 2013 would seem to suggest otherwise, as one picture was a selfie of the two in bed together and a friend of Argento’s has revealed text messages in which the actress admitted to sleeping with her much young co-star.
The actress also suggested in August that Bennett had made the accusation and sought a payoff due to his personal financial situation, and added that Bourdain had suggested paying the settlement in order to keep the accusations quiet and protect their reputations.
“Bennett knew my boyfriend, Anthony Bourdain, was a man of great perceived wealth and had his own reputation as a beloved public figure to protect,” Argento said in the statement. “Anthony insisted the matter be handled privately and this was also what Bennett wanted. Anthony was afraid of the possible negative publicity that such (a) person, whom he considered dangerous, could have brought upon us.”
Weinstein’s attorney Ben Brafman wasted no time in pointing out how Argento was a hypocrite, and said in a statement to the Post, “This was not simply a matter of a woman who made a false allegation of being outed as a liar.”
“This was a voice who had portrayed herself as a victim being exposed as someone who had been able to fool all the reporters who interviewed her, and all the people who really looked at her as a victim, when in truth she was a brazen fraud, if the New York Times story is true,” Brafman added.
The Daily Wire reported Wednesday that Argento’s attorney, Mark Jay Heller, is now claiming that Bennett was the aggressor in the alleged 2013 incident — which she had initially denied ever occurred — and the payment had been rendered, on Bourdain’s recommendation, to protect Argento from future victimization by Bennett.
“Asia does not intend to prosecute Bennett for his conduct and recognizes that his unfortunate past, his stalled acting career, and a lawsuit against his own parents for allegedly misappropriating more than a million and a half dollars from his account might explain his desperation to seek money from Asia and Bourdain for this falsely alleged incident that took place more than 5 years ago,” Heller said.
Heller further revealed that Bennett had only been paid $250,000 out of the agreed upon sum of $380,000, but that Argento now planned to withhold the remaining balance of $130,000 now that Bourdain had passed.
“Now that Mr. Bourdain has passed away and is not able to comment on his desire to avoid potential scandal … Asia will not permit any portion of the balance of the $380,000 payment to be paid to Bennett who has already received $250,000 from Anthony Bourdain,” Heller said.
None of what has occurred here takes anything away from the fact that Argento was quite probably assaulted and/or mistreated by Weinstein in a sexual fashion, but she can no longer play the role of completely innocent victim in light of the similar accusations that have been leveled against her.
The fact that she is now accusing her own accuser of being the one who instigated the alleged incident and is blaming Bourdain — who is unable to defend himself — of being responsible for the payoff of Bennett, says more about her character than anything else.
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