Actress Asia Argento reportedly paid off a 17-year-old actor after having consensual sex with him in a California hotel room in 2013.
According to documents sent to the New York Times, the 42-year-old actress had an encounter with 17-year-old actor and musician Jimmy Bennett at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Marina del Rey, California. Argento was 37 at the time.
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 age of consent in California is 18 years of age.
The pair had known each other for a decade at the time. Bennett played Argento’s son in the 2004 film The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things, when Bennett was 7-years old.
The documents claim that Argento paid the actor $380,000 as per an agreement reached between Bennett and Argento’s lawyer, Carrie Goldberg, in April 2018.
Neither Argento, her lawyers, nor Bennet would consent to an interview. Bennet’s lawyer, Gordon K. Sattro, emailed the Times saying “In the coming days Jimmy will continue doing what he has been doing over the past months and years, focusing on his music.”
Argento Led the Charge Against Sexual Abuse in Hollywood
Asia Argento accused studio mogul Harvey Weinstein of sexual impropriety, leading to him being fired and the opening of multiple criminal investigations in multiple countries.
Argento was one of 13 prominent Hollywood actresses who said that Weinstein acted inappropriately toward them, with varying degrees of severity, over a span of decades.
Argento claimed that he first forced himself on her in 1997, and that there were other encounters through the years where she was afraid to refuse his advances because of the power he wielded in the industry.
The accusations were published in The New Yorker in October 2017—one month before Bennett decided to threaten to sue.
The outgrowth of these revelations—supported by such respected actresses as Ashley Judd, Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie and Rose McGowan—led to the “#MeToo” movement, which encourages women everywhere to come forward with their stories of sexual mistreatment, to end the culture of abuse and intimidation or payoff which has plagued society, most notably in Hollywood, for an unconscionable length of time.