Harvey Weinstein accuser and outspoken voice of the #MeToo movement Asia Argento has handled her own sexual assault case on the down-low, making an arrangement to pay Jimmy Bennett, who accused her of sexually assaulting him in 2013.
According to the New York Times, the Italian actress has arranged a deal to pay actor/musician Bennett $380,000. The Times said that the alleged assault happened months past his 17th birthday in a California hotel room. Argento was 37 at the time. In court documents, a selfie with the two lying in bed was included. In their agreement, Bennett gave the photo and its copyright to Argento.
Argento’s lawyer, Carrie Goldberg has not made an official comment and Bennett has not released a statement. However, Bennett’s lawyer, Gordon K. Sattro told the Times: “In the coming days, Jimmy will continue doing what he has been doing over the past months and years, focusing on his music.”
A letter to Argento from Goldberg said that the money was to help Bennett. “We hope nothing like this ever happens to you again,” Goldberg wrote. “You are a powerful and inspiring creator and it is a miserable condition of life that you live among shitty individuals who’ve preyed on both your strengths and your weaknesses.”
In a notice of an intent to sue sent to Richard Hofstetter in November, Argento’s lawyer at the time, the alleged assault was apparently so traumatic to Bennett that it affected his work and threatened his mental health. The notice asked for $3.5 million in damages for the intentional infliction of emotional distress, lost wages, assault and battery.
In October, Ronan Farrow wrote a New Yorker article where Argento accused Weinstein of forcibly performing oral sex on her 20 years ago. Farrow writes he was told by 13 women that Weinstein sexually harassed or assaulted them, with three claiming rape and four saying they experienced unwanted touching that could be classified as an assault.