MeToo claims brought against a #MeToo movement leader

Written by ENTERTAINMENT, TOP STORY, Uncategorized

  • Nearly a year after she publicly accused producer Harvey Weinstein of rape, actress Asia Argento is facing accusations of sexually assaulting a young actor. [Vanity Fair / Yohana Desta]
  • Argento, an Italian actress, paid a $380,000 settlement to a young actor named James Bennett, who says she sexually assaulted him in 2013 when he was 17 years old — below the age of consent in California, where the alleged encounter took place. [NYT / Kim Severson]
  • Bennett, now 22, said the incident with Argento impacted his mental health and his ability to work. He initially sued Argento for more than $3 million, according to legal paperwork obtained by the New York Times. [NYT / Kim Severson]
  • Argento and Bennett worked together on a 2004 film called The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things, in which he played her 7-year-old son. Argento later referred to Bennett as her son in social media posts. [NPR / Camila Domonoske]
  • Even with the legal settlement, detectives for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department are reaching out to Bennett and his attorney to attempt to interview the actor. This doesn’t mean for sure that criminal charges will be brought against Argento, but it’s a possibility. [LA Times / Alene Tchekmedyian and Richard Winton]
  • The allegations and settlement are significant, given Argento’s high-profile role in the #MeToo movement, but as Vox’s Anna North writes, it doesn’t invalidate the movement or Argento’s own story of being sexually assaulted. [Vox / Anna North]
  • The alleged incident also speaks to a larger problem. Even though the vast number of sexual assault victims are women, millions of men in the US have been assaulted or raped (perpetrators can be both men and women). [RAINN]
  • There’s limited research on women perpetrating sexual assault, but the available studies looking at violence in the prison system, and nationwide sexual assault statistics, suggest it happens more often than we might think. 
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Last modified: August 20, 2018