Asia Argento: “Jimmy Bennett raped me.”


Asia Argento and former child star Jimmy Bennett

The saga between Asia Argento and Jimmy Bennett seems to be one of those train wrecks that we can’t bring ourselves to look away from. One of the reasons is because every day new allegations and discoveries are made that the truth is slowly getting muddied up in drama.

To recap, Jimmy Bennett claims that Asia Argento sexually assaulted him when he was seventeen and for several months had been extorting her for money (which the late Anthony Bourdain gave in hopes of keeping him quiet and from disclosing a very incriminating photo).

The photo was recently disclosed which depicted Argento in bed with Bennett, both of them looking blissful, basking in the afterglow of their recent romp.


This photo discredited Argento’s claim that she hadn’t had sex with Bennett at all (which even if consensual could still be seen as statutory rape because he was 17 at the time, and she was 37, and the age of consent in California is 18).

To also discredit Argento’s claim was non-binary model Rain Dove’s leak of their texts where Dove asked Argento if she had sex with the minor and she replied with, “Yes, it felt weird. I didn’t know he was a minor till the shakedown letter.” This was enough proof for Italy’s X-Factor to fire Argento from her judge role and for CNN to pull any episodes of Bourdain’s Parts Unknown where the actress appears.

Rose McGowan, who is dating Dove, has distanced herself from her former friend and urged her to tell the truth and act the way she wished disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein should’ve acted. Argento and McGowan are no longer on speaking terms.

In retaliation, Argento called Dove a “monster” for selling her private texts to TMZ, and McGowan a “liar.”

Now, Argento’s attorney is claiming that the actress was actually the one to be sexually assaulted by Bennett (which is something she DID say to Dove in the leaked texts where she wrote, “The horny kid jumped me,”). Although when Dove questioned to clarify in the texts if Argento had been raped she wrote back, “It wasn’t rape but I was frozen. He was on top of me. After, he told me that I had been his sexual fantasy since (he) was 12.”

A note written to Argento by Bennett using the hotel’s stationery from the day of the infamous encounter reads: Asia, I love you with all my heart. So glad we met again and I’m so glad your in my life. – Jimmy (ending with a smiley)

The saga gets even more intricate when recent discoveries have been made where Bennett’s ex-girlfriend had issued a restraining order against him in July 2015 due to stalking. His ex-girlfriend hadn’t gone to the police just for the stalking, but also because she wanted to press charges against Bennett for having sex with a minor (she was 17, and he 18) and child pornography. She explained that Bennett had talked her into having sex with him and that he had manipulated her into sending nude photos of herself in which she stated, “Caused me emotional harm by leaking them via Snapchat.” The ex also confirmed that she feared for her safety when she got back with her ex-boyfriend because Bennett threatened to “get back at her,” if she did.

Bennett who blames Argento for his lack of employment due to the trauma that she caused him by having sex with him, probably doesn’t want to acknowledge the simple truth that as a child actor transitioning into adulthood, like many others before him, he probably just didn’t make the cut.

So what can we learn from said train wreck of a saga? That Argento most likely did get raped by Weinstein. That Bourdain did pay Bennett to keep him quiet because he didn’t want a scandal to erupt. That Argento and Bennett did have sex. That Argento denied having sex. That most likely said sex was consensual between the two parties, but Argento being the adult in the situation shouldn’t have partaken in any sexual activities with a minor no matter how much he may have seemed consensual at the time. That Bennett was facing harsh economic issues due to his parents having spent most of his child acting money and now blames Argento for his lack of adulthood success.

Maybe if both parties would begin to say the truth then perhaps this mess could actually get resolved. But as it stands, this scandal is going to keep on piling on nuances worthy of the best soap opera.

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Asia Argento: When The Victim becomes the Perpetrator

asia5An obliterating bomb exploded last Sunday when The New York Times published a piece about Asia Argento claiming that the Italian actress reportedly paid $380K to former child star and co-star Jimmy Bennett for an incident that occurred at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Marina Del Rey, CA in May 2013. The young actor was 17 at the time of the alleged sexual assault by Argento, who was then 37.

The two first met when Argento cast Bennett as the young version of Jeremiah for her movie adaptation of JT Leroy’s The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things. Throughout the years the two had remained close and would be seen interacting with one another on Twitter and Instagram.

On May 9, of 2013, the two agreed to meet up in Marina Del Rey, CA, their meeting was captured by a series of photos that the actress posted on Instagram where the two looked visibly happy to be in the company of one another.

However, Bennett claims that Argento had him drink alcohol for then to have her perform oral sex on him, which later lead to sex. Bennett at the time this incident was 17. The age of consent in California is 18. Long after this encounter, the two were seen interacting on social media, similarly to how she remained still in contact with her own abuser, Harvey Weinstein.


So what does this all mean in light of the #MeToo movement? I don’t think the actions of one individual should be used as a way to discredit the work that many of the other survivors have been doing in the past few months. It also doesn’t change the fact that Argento herself was a victim of rape, however, it also doesn’t give her a free pass to essentially assault minors. And that’s where the problem lies, because whether or not Bennett at the time of the incident had either consented or not (he hasn’t
come out with a statement in regards to these accusations), he was still a minor at the time of the incident and that in itself is legally a crime.

The #MeToo movement was initially started to help women of color who had been sexually assaulted and turned into a worldwide movement when actresses Rose McGowan, Rosanna Arquette, and Argento herself became the most prominent voices behind the movement in light of the Harvey Weinstein rape scandal.

Now, many are distancing themselves from Argento, whilst her friends McGowan and Arquette are showing their support. But this double standard can be harmful to the movement, making people erroneously believe that such a movement is riddled with hypocrisy. But that can only cause harm to victims if we’re going to discredit a movement simply because one individual’s actions were appalling.


A photo of Bennette that Argento took on May 9, 2013, the day of the alleged assault at the Ritz-Carlton in Marina Del Rey, CA

The bottom line is: adults should never use their position of power to coerce or persuade a minor into sex, no matter what their history or relationship with that person may be.

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*At the point of publication of this post, Argento was said to have told freelance journalist Yashar Ali that she had “Never had any sexual relationship with Bennett,” and was “deeply shocked and hurt by having read news that is absolutely false.”

The actress also went to point out that Bennett was “undergoing severe economic problems,” and that he knew that her boyfriend, TV chef Anthony Bourdain, “was of great perceived wealth.”

The New York Times story was based on documents that they received from an unidentified source via encrypted email.

What does this all mean? That clearly this case is going to have more twists and turns so keep your seatbelts on.

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Book Review: Brave by Rose McGowan


Growing up, I always wanted to be an actress. Movies have always been a form of media that I love. Going to the theatre as a child was always one of my favourite things to do, becoming immersed in the stories that were being told, and admiring the actresses who looked so glamorous. But despite my love for cinema, I was always deviated to pursue my acting dreams, being told that Hollywood wasn’t a safe haven for women (by people in the industry) and the whole cliché of all that glitters isn’t gold.

I always thought those stories were just stories. Until I read Rose McGowan’s autobiography.

And boy is this book one wild ride.

For years what we knew of Rose McGowan was of the characters she portrayed in movies (often the sex-bomb snarky femme fatale type as can be seen in Doom Generation, Scream, Jawbreaker, and Planet Terror to name a few) the men she’s dated (Marilyn Manson and Robert Rodriguez), and the image the media sold of her as a “bad girl.”

There’s never a dull moment in Brave, where McGowan begins the book from her early days of growing up in a cult, Children of God, and living in northern Italy, to experiencing culture shock once her dad brings her back to America where she kept being sent back and forth between her parents and living in different states. How she didn’t actually pursue acting as a career, but it was more something that happened to her by accident, and that the fear of becoming homeless and living on the streets as she had done for awhile as a teen, haunted her into continuing her career in an industry she didn’t feel truly understood her or regarded her as a capable human being.

But what really had me reeling the most whilst reading the book was the moment when McGowan has her meeting with whom she refers to “the Monster” (Harvey Weinstein) and how she (and other young actresses throughout the years) was the sacrifitional lamb to a man who abused his power and knew that he could get away with it because as it turns out no one tried to be of help to her when she told various people of the incident, from her manager who said that maybe her career could only get better because of the assault, to a female attorney stating that she wouldn’t win the case since she had done a nude scene in a movie, to her then-co-star Ben Affleck who offered no true help (which is no surprise seeing that he’s Hollywood’s equivalent of Frat-Boy Bro-hood mentality and was besties with said Monster).

Other interesting tidbits was finding out that Marilyn Manson was the kindest boyfriend she had (and that the song Coma White was about her). How Robert Rodriguez was a “charming prince” soon to be revealed to be a manipulative, sadistic, power-hungry, unhinged individual. That her years spent filming Charmed were her worst gig, not because of her character, Paige, but because of the grueling schedule and male-dominated crew. That the only Prom she experienced was that in Jawbreaker, where she portrayed mean girl Courtney Alice Shayne, who wins Prom Queen, but then gets shamed and pelted by corsages when it’s revealed that she killed the much adored popular girl Elizabeth Purr. And believe it or not, it was Ashton Kutcher who inspired McGowan to join Twitter.

Brave is a tale of a woman who had her spirit crushed by the machine that is Hollywood, and how, much like a Phoenix, she has soared from her ashes, and reclaimed her identity, her true self, not the one that was pinned to her by the men in the movie industry. The day she shaved off her hair, was the day she broke up with the world and reclaimed her person for herself. From that moment on, she has ventured into directing (watch her moving short film Dawn), singing, photography, and became an active voice for those who either were too scared to speak up or didn’t know how to, and has long since been an advocate and activist for female empowerment.

This is a moving book that will stick with you long after you’ve read it.

And if you’re going to take anything from this book it’s this: Be brave. Be bold. Don’t be afraid of being yourself.

By: Azzurra Nox