What do sex assault allegations against Asia Argento mean for #MeToo?

What do sex assault allegations against Asia Argento mean for #MeToo?

The Los Angeles Police Department is investigating a sexual assault allegation against Asia Argento, following the leak of documents which appear to reveal she settled a case out of court.

In a statement to New York's Yashar Ali, Argento now denies sexually assaulting Bennett and is "deeply shocked and hurt" by what she calls an "absolutely false" report.

First, she appeared to distance herself from Argento, saying, "I got to know Asia Argento ten months ago".

Argento continues, "Anthony insisted the matter be handled privately and this was also what Bennett wanted".

This is the first statement Argento has made since The New York Times released a report about her settlement to Bennett, who alleged she sexually assaulted him when he was 17 and under the legal age of consent in California.

McGowan and Argento have been among the most prominent women to come forward with allegations of rape against now-disgraced film titan Harvey Weinstein, who is facing criminal charges in NY unrelated to McGowan or Argento.

The New York Times reported on Sunday that Argento, a Harvey Weinstein accuser and leading figure in the #MeToo movement, had paid Jimmy Bennett $380,000 over the 2013 incident at a Los Angeles hotel.

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Argento said she had been "linked to [Bennett] during several years by friendship only", which ended when he suddenly demanded money from her as her public profile grew during the investigation into Weinstein. "Anthony was afraid of the possible negative publicity that such person, whom he considered unsafe, could have brought up on us", she said. "We chose to deal compassionately with Bennett's demand for help and give it to him".

Based on a letter of intent to sue sent to Argento's lawyers by Bennet's lawyer in November 2017, the young man sought $3.5 million for the intentional infliction of emotional distress, lost wages, assault, and battery.

The NY Times piece made explicit mention of photos taken by Bennett, which showed himself and Argento topless in bed together.

What does Argento say in her denial?

Mr Weinstein was charged in NY this year with sexually assaulting three unnamed women, which he denies.

Argento became one of the most well-known activists of the #MeToo movement after she told the New Yorker magazine that Weinstein raped her at the Cannes Film Festival in 1997 when she was 21.

Another high-profile accuser of Harvey Weinstein and champion of the #MeToo movement, Rose McGowan, tweeted that she was heartbroken by the accusations against Asia Argento but would not be deterred from continuing her own work.

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