When the #MeToo movement first gained prominence, Hollywood actress Asia Argento emerged as a prominent spokeswoman for the movement, leveling her own accusations against now disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein and staunchly defending other women who’d come forward with their own accusations against him and other powerful male figures.
But then everything was flipped upside down for Argento, who found herself on the wrong end of an allegation of sexual misconduct from a former male co-star who accused her of seducing and having sex with him when he was still a minor.
However, several months later, it appears that Argento may be able to skate by without being held accountable for her alleged crime.
That accuser was now-22-year-old actor Jimmy Bennett, who had alleged that Argento had seduced him in a Marina Del Ray hotel room in 2013 when he was 17. Argento had disputed that allegation, insisting that it had been Bennett who had instigated the sexual situation against her will.
However, a social media post of the visibly happy pair in bed together — as well as text messages between the two after the incident — would seem to indicate that Bennett’s version was closer to the truth.
Bennett’s threatened legal action resulted in Argento settling for $380,000 to silence him, money paid by Argento’s then-boyfriend Anthony Bourdain, who committed suicide shortly thereafter.
But while those circumstances would seem to suggest that Argento is guilty of statutory rape — a crime punishable in California by up to three years in prison — she may never actually be charged, as Bennett has apparently never filed a police report as he had promised.
In fact, he has not been seen or heard from since September, according to TMZ.
TMZ noted that law enforcement sources had informed the outlet that multiple attempts to make contact with Bennett over the allegations had been unsuccessful.
It remains unclear whether Bennet still wants to file criminal charges.
TMZ reached out to Bennett for comment on the matter but received no response.
The last time Bennett was seen in public was during a September interview on Italian TV during which the interviewer had pushed back hard against Bennett’s claims, embarrassing him with blunt talk about the specifics of the alleged encounter.
A separate report from TMZ shortly before that interview suggested that Argento’s attorney, Mark Heller, would be watching to ensure that Bennett didn’t say anything disparaging about the actress.
The outlet obtained a letter from Heller to Bennett that warned him that Argento would take legal action of her own against Bennett if he said anything that could be construed as “slanderous, defamatory or untruthful statements” about Argento.
However, Argento engaged in her own potentially “slanderous, defamatory or untruthful statements,” accusing Bennett of being a drug addict and failed actor who was attempting to extort her.
It remains to be seen whether Bennett will ever come forward to pursue his allegations against Argento, or if something or someone has convinced him to hold his tongue — assuming, of course, that his allegations were true.
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