The newspaper obtained court documents between lawyers for the Italian actress, 42, and Jimmy Bennett — who played her son in the 2004 movie The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things — that claim she quietly arranged to pay the former actor $380,000 in the months that followed her accusations against Weinstein.
The Times reports that Bennett, who is now a 22-year-old rock musician, accused Argento of sexually assaulting him in a room at The Ritz-Carlton in Marina del Rey, California, in May 2013, just two months after his 17th birthday. She was 37 at the time. (The age of consent in the state is 18.)
Bennett claimed that the director gave him alcohol when he arrived at the hotel. She then allegedly kissed him and performed oral sex on him before the two had intercourse. Later that day, she posted a selfie of them on Instagram, writing, “Happiest day of my life reunion with @jimmymbennett xox.”
The Times obtained a different selfie of Argento and Bennett lying in bed together. As part of the reported settlement, the actress was granted copyright of that image.
The documents obtained by the paper state that Bennett had asked Argento for $3.5 million in damages for the intentional infliction of emotional distress, lost wages, assault and battery. His attorney, Gordon K. Sattro, wrote in the documents that the costars had a “mother-son relationship [that] had blossomed from their experience on set together.”
Bennett’s attorney, Sattro, tells Us Weekly that his client “does not wish to comment on the documents or the events discussed in the New York Times article” at this time, but he is “going to take [the] next 24 hours, or longer, to prepare his response.”
Weinstein, 66, pleaded not guilty in June to sexual assault charges unrelated to Argento’s allegations against him. He has long denied any claims of nonconsensual sex.
Rose McGowan, another Weinstein accuser and leading figure of the #MeToo movement, took to Twitter hours after the Times report was published. “I got to know Asia Argento ten months ago. Our commonality is the shared pain of being assaulted by Harvey Weinstein. My heart is broken,” she tweeted early Monday, August 20. “I will continue my work on behalf of victims everywhere.”
I got to know Asia Argento ten months ago. Our commonality is the shared pain of being assaulted by Harvey Weinstein. My heart is broken. I will continue my work on behalf of victims everywhere.
— rose mcgowan (@rosemcgowan) August 20, 2018
Us Weekly has also reached out to Argento’s attorney for comment.
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