"People will use these recent news stories to try and discredit this movement -- don’t let that happen," the activist says in reaction to Argento facing her own sexual assault accuser.
#MeToo founder Tarana Burke and actress Rosanna Arquette have joined Rose McGowan in reacting to the report that Asia Argento -- one of Harvey Weinstein's most prominent rape accusers -- paid off her own sexual assault accuser.
"I’ve said repeatedly that the #metooMVMT is for all of us, including these brave young men who are now coming forward," Burke began a series of tweets Monday morning. "It will continue to be jarring when we hear the names of some of our faves connected to sexual violence unless we shift from talking about individuals and begin to talk about power. Sexual violence is about power and privilege. That doesn’t change if the perpetrator is your favorite actress, activist or professor of any gender. And we won’t shift the culture unless we get serious about shifting these false narratives."
According to the New York Times report, the actress and filmmaker agreed to pay $380,000 to former child actor Jimmy Bennett, who threatened to sue her over allegations that she sexually assaulted him in a Southern California hotel room in 2013 when he was 17 and she was 37. (The age of consent in California is 18.)
Bennett co-starred, when he was 7, with Argento in 2004's "The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things" -- a film she acted in, co-wrote, and directed. They played a mother and son in the movie. Neither Bennett or Argento have responded to TooFab's request for comment.
Burke's statement on the matter continued, "My hope is that as more folks come forward, particularly men, that we prepare ourselves for some hard conversations about power and humanity and privilege and harm. This issue is less about crime and punishment and more about harm and harm reduction."
"A shift can happen. This movement is making space for possibility. But, it can only happen after we crack open the whole can of worms and get really comfortable with the uncomfortable reality that there is no one way to be a perpetrator," the activist continued. "And there is no model survivor. We are imperfectly human and we all have to be accountable for our individual behavior."
Burke concluded with a plea to not let allegations against Argento "discredit" the #MeToo movement, which she launched well before it became a trending hashtag with the help of Hollywood actresses coming forward with sexual harassment and assault horror stories.
"People will use these recent news stories to try and discredit this movement -- don’t let that happen. This is what Movement is about," she tweeted. "It’s not a spectator sport. It is people generated. We get to say 'this is/isn’t what this movement is about!'"
Arquette, who came forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against Weinstein last fall, applauded Burke's take on the situation.
Thank you Tarana ,as you know .. trauma begets trauma ..until we heal ourselves. we are all on a path to healing ..gratitude for being the beacon that keeps us moving forward.— Rosanna Arquette (@RoArquette) August 20, 2018
In another tweet sharing her thoughts on the situation, she wrote, "I know many many rape and trauma survivors who act out sexually. The wounds they carry run deep. I pray for them. The timing of this story is suspect. Asia was still raped by Harvey Weinstein."
Arquette said, like many other Weinstein accusers, she was brought up to a hotel room and turned down a massage. She said that Weinstein grabbed her hand and pulled it toward his erect penis, but she said, "I will never do that," and escaped the situation. She added that she believes she lost out on jobs after rejecting the producer's sexual advances.
"He made things very difficult for me for years," she said, and explained she stayed quiet in fear of him doing further damage to her career.
Meanwhile, Rose McGowan said her heart was broken over the Argento report.
"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," she tweeted. "None of us know the truth of the situation and I’m sure more will be revealed. Be gentle."
Got a story or a tip for us? Email TooFab editors at email@example.com.