Argento accused of paying hush money to silence sexual assault allegations - Gothamist News/gothamist.com

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Sunday, August 19, 2018

Argento accused of paying hush money to silence sexual assault allegations



Actress and director Asia Argento, a leading voice in the #MeToo movement, quietly paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to her own sex assault accuser — a former child actor who once played Argento’s son, a report said Sunday.
Argento — among the first women to accuse Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault — recently agreed to pay $380,000 to actor and musician Jimmy Bennett, who claimed that she sexually assaulted him in a California hotel room in 2013, when he was 17, according to The New York Times.
The Times said their report was based on correspondences between lawyers for Argento and Bennett that was sent anonymously to them and verified by people familiar with the case.
Included with the documents was a selfie showing the partially-nude couple in bed dated May 2013, when Bennett was 17 and Argento was 37, the report said.
Bennett’s lawyer filed a notice of intent demanding $3.5 million in damages in November — one month after Argento, the longtime girlfriend of the late Anthony Bourdain, and 12 other women publicly accused Weinstein of rape, according to The Times.
The notice claimed that Argento’s “sexual battery” of Bennett left him with lasting emotional trauma that rendered him unable to make a living, the report said.
The pair met in 2004 when Argento cast Bennett, then just 7, to play her son in “The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things.”
It was an early highlight in a prolific childhood acting career for Bennett, who also appeared in “Daddy Day Care” and “The Amityville Horror.”
In 2013, Bennett was visiting Argento’s California hotel room when she convinced a relative to leave them alone, The Times reported, citing the documents.
She then plied him with alcohol and sexually assaulted him, it’s alleged in the filing.
Lawyers for Argento and Bennett agreed to a deal in which Argento would pay him $380,000 over a year-and-a-half, beginning last April, according to report.
Neither Argento, who lives in Rome, nor Bennett commented for The Times report.

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