Asia Argento, an Italian actress and director at the forefront of the #MeToo campaign that brought down producer Harvey Weinstein over sexual assault, herself reportedly assaulted an underage actor, and paid him to stay silent.
The US$380,000 payment was made to Jimmy Bennett, an actor and rock musician, who claimed Argento assaulted him in a California hotel room in 2013, according to the Times, which cited documents sent to the paper by an unidentified party. Bennet, now 22, played Argento's son in a 2014 movie called The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things. Argento was 37 at the time.
In an April letter addressed to Argento confirming the final details of the deal and setting out a schedule of payments, Goldberg characterized the money as "helping Mr. Bennett". That post and others were included with the notice of intent, along with three photos apparently taken by Mr. Bennett that depict him and Ms. Argento in bed, their unclothed torsos exposed.
Argento's lawyer, Carrie Goldberg has not made an official comment and Bennett has not released a statement.
The document lays out Mr. Bennett's account: Ms. Argento asked the family member to leave so she could be alone with the actor. However, Bennett's lawyer, Gordon K. Sattro told the Times: "In the coming days, Jimmy will continue doing what he has been doing over the past months and years, focusing on his music".
Neither Argento nor any of her representatives responded to requests for comment on the Times' story, it was reported.
Argento became a powerful voice for the #MeToo movement after accusing Weinstein of raping her when she was 21 in his hotel room in 1997 during the Cannes film festival.
Argento had admitted in a New Yorker piece, as relayed by writer Ronan Farrow, that she had "consensual sexual relations with [Weinstein] multiple times over the course of the next five years" following the alleged assault, but that they were "one-sided and 'onanistic.'" According to Farrow's piece, she felt Weinstein would "ruin her career if she didn't comply".
Bennett's lawyers had characterised the hotel encounter as a "sexual battery" that traumatised the former child actor, threatening his mental health and income.
The Hollywood Reporter described the film's cinema debut as a "career low at the box office" for the Oscar-winning performer. In October last year, actor Anthony Rapp alleged that Kevin Spacey had made sexual advances on him when he was 14-years-old.
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