Asia Argento Won't Pay Off Jimmy Bennett Settlement, Launches 'Phase 2 of the #MeToo Movement'
Asia Argento has responded to allegations of sexual misconduct concerning Jimmy Bennett, a 17-year-old minor when then 37-year-old Argento allegedly had sex with him. In a statement, Argento both seems to deny having a sexual relationship with Bennett, while also conceding that she had sex with Jimmy Bennett.
In Asia’s circumstance, although it was alleged in the August 20, 2018 New York Times article that she had initiated a sexual attack on Bennett, Asia at no time initiated a sexual encounter with Bennet and in fact as she stated in her response to the New York Times article, concerning their past history, “I have never had any sexual relationship with Bennet” - This is completely accurate. Her relationship with Bennett was never sexual, but rather the relationship was a long distance friendship over many years. As revealed in texts messages published by TMZ, Asia stated “The horny kid jumped me…I had sex with him it felt weird.” She went on to relate that she became “frozen” when he was on top of her and he told her that she had been his sexual fantasy since he was 12 years old. Asia chose at the time not to prosecute Bennett for sexually attacking her.
I think the point Argento is trying to clumsily make here is that it wasn’t a “sexual relationship” because Bennett allegedly sexually “attacked” her.
Argento, in a statement, further claims that the $380,000 settlement with Bennett was not over a sexual relationship, but rather to prevent Bennett from “intruding” into the private life of Argento and her boyfriend, Anthony Bourdain, who paid the settlement — according to texts between Argento and Bourdain obtained by TMZ — to get Bennett out of their lives.
Bourdain and Argento — who were dating for over a year before Bourdain’s death — texted each other about Jimmy Bennett, referring to him as a “donkey” and Bourdain writing that paying him is “no admission of anything, no attempt to buy a cover up, simply an offer to help an obviously tortured soul whose desperate and trying to jack you for money.”
Bourdain goes on to say, “Or you just tell him to f*** himself. Either way, I am with you.”
“You are not buying silence. Only freedom from inconvenience. And to help a ‘poor twisted goof’ get his life together.”
In either respect, Argento states that she will no longer allow Bourdain’s estate to pay off the balance of $130,000 owed to Bennett.
In her statement, Argento also alleges that Bennett has a troubled history, which includes charges of “unlawful sex with a minor,” “stalking” and “child pornography” and “child exploitation” and that Bennett manipulated her “into sending him naked photos…” and that Bennett had a history of drug use.
However, Argento then launches what she calls Phase 2 of the #MeToo Movement:
This is Phase Two of the #metoo movement. A victim who has some negative history should have the courage to come forward and say “me too, I was a victim of sexual assault” and whatever might color my past does not negate the truth of what happened to me.
Accordingly, Argento says that the “gray area” in her past should not preclude her from speaking out against her perpetrators (like Weinstein), nor should Bennett’s “troubled history, be it true or false” preclude him from making allegations against her.
Asia believes that in Phase Two of the #metoo movement, everyone should come forward, tell their story regardless of their past, which in Asia’s circumstances constitutes a misunderstood interaction between her and Bennett that was initiated by Bennett, perpetrated upon Asia, and resulted in her “freezing” and being placed in a “state of shock.” Asia is hopeful that as both Phase One and Phase Two of the #metoo movement evolves that Society will understand that no one is perfect, that everyone has the right to be heard and that Justice will ultimately prevail under circumstances where Justice will be tempered with mercy, compassion, forgiveness and understanding. The mere indictment by Public Opinion is not enough to condemn a person of a crime and character assassination is no different than the scandalistic nature of what many decry in this era as purported “fake news.”
Header Image Source: Getty
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