The unofficial leader of the #MeToo movement and one of Harvey Weinstein's first accusers also happened to be the girlfriend of Anthony Bourdain. Actress Asia Argento had some skeletons in the closet of her own after a report revealed she paid off a child actor and musician named Jimmy Bennett who accused her of sexually assaulting him when he was just 17-years-old. How much did she pay off this actor? Apparently, Argento was willing to fork out $380,000 to make the problem go away.
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The victim of the assault says Argento sexually assaulted him in a California hotel room in 2013 at a time when he was only 17-years-old and the age of consent in the state is 18. The case coming forward would have likely landed Argento on the sex offender registry along with some jail time. It's no wonder she was willing to pay off the boy nearly half a million dollars to keep his mouth shut. It seems the money must have run out because here we are in 2018 and Argento is facing the resurgence of the case at a time when she herself is accusing a prominent Hollywood mogul of sexual assault.
The New York Times obtained documents Sunday that were sent between Argento's lawyers and the victim laying out a payment schedule. The Times also received a copy of a photograph showing Argento in bed with the minor dated May 9, 2013. A notice of intent to sue was sent to Argento's then-attorney in November after the actor met Argento at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Marina del Rey, California. Argento gave alcohol to the boy and kissed him before performing oral sex on him and eventually intercourse.
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Argento is now 42 and has been an influential figure in getting Harvey Weinstein, the former head of Miramax, prosecuted for sexual assault. Argento alleges Weinstein performed forcible oral sex on her in 1997. In an interview with Ronan Farrow, Argento said, "I was not willing. I said, 'No, no, no.' … It's twisted. A big fat man wanting to eat you. It's a scary fairy tale." Argento also admitted to the paper that she would occasionally have consensual sex with Weinstein because she felt she "had to" and "didn't want to anger him."
The tweet pinned on Argento's Twitter account references her quote from a speech she gave at May's Cannes Film Festival in France: "For all the brave women who came forward denouncing their predators, and for all the brave women who will come forward in the future. We got the power."
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