“Sexual violence is wrong,” says a blunt Ashley Judd in her first words on expanding allegations that fellow Harvey Weinstein accuser Asia Argento sexually assaulted then minor Jimmy Bennett back in 2013. “Full stop,” the Berlin Station actor added.
Posted online early in the morning, Judd’s statement comes as Marie Antoinette actor Argento’s claims of never having had intimate relation with the then 17-year old Bennett are starting to fray. A selfie photo of Argento and the teen actor together in bed has been released. Additionally, what appears to be a series of texts between Argento and a friend detailing the interaction with Bennett have also leaked out.
Though the filmmaker and her reps have been silent so far today, on Tuesday the usually outspoken Argento was vehement that the whole situation is and was essentially a shakedown. “I have never had any sexual relationship with Bennett,” the XxX actor said in a statement yesterday. As has been reported before Argento also confirmed that her late boyfriend Anthony Bourdain, “privately” paid the “dangerous” Bennett $380,000 to stop harassing her for an “exorbitant” sum of cash.
As the likes of Miro Sorvino and Rose McGowen reacted with horror and sorrow over the Argento accusations and the potentially damning settlement and the LA County Sheriff’s office look to contact Bennett, Judd cut straight to the heart of the larger matter at hand.
“Indeed, accountability is at the very heart of the #MeToo movement,” Judd said on Twitter just after midnight this morning. “We hold any and every abuser accountable, regardless of their gender, race, socioeconomic status, public visibility or popularity.”
Though the name of Weinstein was not mentioned by Judd, the disgraced producer looms over this situation. Looking at the possibility of life behind bars from sex crimes indictments by a New York grand jury and numerous rape investigations in Los Angeles and the UK, Weinstein is battling hard to have Judd’s civil lawsuit against him tossed out. In their increasingly aggressive defense tactics, Weinstein’s team on August 20 put a spotlight on what they called “a stunning level of hypocrisy” on Argento’s part that will likely show up again and again in the Judd case as well as the criminal case in NYC and other lawsuits against the producer.
With the photo and the new details circulating, today saw Argento withdraw from participating in a Dutch music festival. “Due to the volatile nature of the accusations surrounding Ms. Argento, she has chosen to withdraw from her curatorship of this year’s edition, while these issues remain open,” diplomatically said Le Guess Who?’ festival organizers Wednesday.
Judd and Weinstein’s lawyers are set to square off in federal court early next month on the latter’s attempt to have the former’s case dismissed. In the meantime, Judd continues to speak out on her desire for a cultural shift, as she tweeted today:
I am aware every time I walk down a street of #malegaze. I am vigilant about both #streetharassment & #sexualassault. I look forward the time when these automatic considerations become an old story we tell & not a integrated way of being in public spaces. #metoo @timesupnow pic.twitter.com/hP1lLyagIX
— ashley judd (@AshleyJudd) August 22, 2018