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#MeToo’s Asia Argento changes her story, says teen sexually assaulted her — not the other way around

Entertainment
Actress and filmmaker Asia Argento says that she was the one who was sexually assaulted by child actor Jimmy Bennett in 2013, and not the other way around. (ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/Getty Images)

Asia Argento, filmmaker, actress, and #MeToo leader, has denied that she sexually assaulted a 17-year-old in 2013 and instead insists that he was the one who sexually assaulted her.

What's the background?

Argento reportedly sexually assaulted a 17-year-old Jimmy Bennett in 2013 and paid him off monetarily for his troubles.

Bennett alleged that Argento invited him to a hotel room, where she gave him alcohol. Afterward, Argento reportedly performed oral sex on Bennett, and then had sexual intercourse with him.

New York Times report revealed that Argento reportedly settled with Bennett for about $380,000. TMZ later reported that Argento paid Bennett the sum for a damning post-coital photo.

Journalist Yashar Ali shared a statement from Argento denying the disturbing allegations.

Is there an investigation?

The L.A. County Sheriff’s Dept. has reportedly opened an investigation into the alleged incident.

Bennett told the New York Times that he remained silent out of fear and shame, but once Argento outed herself as an alleged Harvey Weinstein victim, he was moved to speak.

A thread of text messages were later leaked to TMZ, which indicated that Argento did have intercourse with Bennett.

Fellow actress and #MeToo activist Rose McGowan later issued a statement of her own, seeming to validate Bennett's claims. According to McGowan, her partner Rain Dove was behind the release of the text messages.

Dove purportedly turned over the messages to police after Argento reportedly told her that she did have sex with Bennett. Argento also reportedly had been receiving unsolicited nude messages from Bennett since he was 13.

Dove said Argento did not take any action to stop the explicit messages.

What's happening now?

On Tuesday, TMZ reported that Argento said that Bennett had sexually assaulted her — not the other way around.

Also, Argento reportedly said that Bennett was lucky that she hadn't filed charges against him at the time.

Mark Jay Heller, Argento's lawyer, told the outlet that "Asia chose at the time not to prosecute Bennett for sexually attacking her."

Heller told the outlet that Bennett reportedly decided to extort Argento with the photo when he found out that she was dating the late Anthony Bourdain, and said that Bennett "chose to intrude on that relationship and demand financial payment from Bourdain in consideration for not embarrassing Asia and indirectly Bourdain."

Argento and Bourdain reportedly agreed to pay Bennett a sum of $380,000 even though she reportedly had not done anything wrong.

Prior to his death, Bourdain had reportedly paid Bennett a sum of $250,000 — but now, Argento apparently has no intention to make good on the rest of the alleged deal.

"Asia does not intend to prosecute Bennett for his conduct and recognizes that his unfortunate past, his stalled acting career, and a lawsuit against his own parents for allegedly misappropriating more than a million and a half dollars from his account might explain his desperation to seek money from Asia and Bourdain for this falsely alleged incident that took place more than [five] years ago," Heller added.

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