Both McGowan and Argento are leading figures in the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment, assault, and discrimination against women. The two friends joined fellow women in the entertainment industry last year in banding together to expose movie mogul Weinstein. The late Anthony Bourdain, who dated Argento before he died, had also put his support behind the actress when she came out against Weinstein.
McGowan tweeted early Monday morning in response to a New York Times report claiming her friend had not only been accused of "sexual battery" but had also been making payments to a young male actor, who she allegedly had sexual relations with when he was still underage.
"I got to know Asia Argento ten months ago," McGowan wrote on Twitter Monday. "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."
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.
The New York Times reported Sunday evening that Argento arranged to pay her own accuser Jimmy Bennett, who is 20 years her junior, $380,000 over 18 months. In documents obtained by the NYT, Bennett, a young actor and musician, claimed Argento had 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.)
The documents also claimed that in result of the "sexual battery" the young star faced emotional trauma which affected his mental health. Bennett, through legal representatives, made the claims privately against Argento just weeks after she publicly came forward in the Weinstein scandal, claiming the media mogul raped her when she was 21.
In addition, the documents said Argento asked to take a number of photos with Bennett on the day of the alleged assault. One image of the two in bed is in the possession of the NYT. There is still an Instagram photo of Argento and Bennett from that same day -- May 9, 2013 -- as well as Argento "waiting" for Bennett in the Marina Del Rey harbor on the actress' Instagram account.
"Waiting for my long lost son my love @jimmymbennett in trepidation #marinadelrey smoking cigarettes like there was no next week," she wrote in the caption.
According to the NYT, the agreement reached between both parties does not bar either Argento or Bennett from speaking about the matter publicly. The agreement only states that Bennett cannot sue or disparage Argento as long as she makes the agreed upon payments.
The NYT contacted Argento's representatives for comment. They also reached out to Bennett. Neither party were willing to respond. TooFab has also reached out for comment.
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.
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After the news broke, Twitter users, including many journalists and reporters, were outraged as they claimed Argento's alleged inappropriate actions went against the #MeToo movement and everything it stood for.
Asia Argento is a piece of shit and always has been. The people defending her with that crap about her torment from Weinstein leading her to continue the cycle of abuse can fuck right the fuck off. You gonna defend Harvey if he says he was abused, too?!
This is how young Jimmy Bennett was when Asia Argento worked with him. She knew him as a child and stands accused paying him off $380,000 after grooming him in a mother-son style relationship and turning the relationship sexual right after he turned 17. https://t.co/qTVs0tTa0k pic.twitter.com/FtQyKO9PI0
There are two types of dudebros: those who will mock Jimmy Bennett for being sexually-assaulted by Asia Argento ("why didn't he enjoy it?") and those who will use this to erroneously claim feminists are hypocrites.
What Harvey Winstein did to Asia Argento is wrong, but that does not give Argento a pass or an excuse. If it is true, what she did to Jimmy Bennett is just as wrong. Men can be raped too and just because he was 17 does not mean he should have "wanted" it. That is victim shaming.
The big Q is will ppl look past this moment to still embrace all Asia has done for #MeToo. And if so, will ppl accept some of the genuine remorse from a few of the men involved in accusations. We claim ppl deserve redemption. Or do we?
Asia Argento sexually assaulted a minor. That is reprehensible & unforgivable. Do I think it means she wasn't assaulted by Weinstein? No. Do I think it means she has been breathtakingly narcissistic and selfish in making herself a face of the #MeToo movement? Absolutely. Shame.
This revelation about Asia Argento doesn't undermine the #MeToo movement. It shows that rape causes damage that reverberates through the world in incalculable ways. That doesn't mean what she did isn't utterly fucked up, or that she shouldn't be held accountable.
Yes, women can be abusers. Yes, women can be abuse victims. Yes, #MeToo is about listening to ALL survivors. And yes, there is still a gendered component to the movement overall. All of these things can be true at once. https://t.co/RPFGg4uwyL
Two things can be equally true about Asia Argento: 1. She was assaulted by Harvey Weinstein 2. She had sex with a minor, 10 months before his 18th birthday, and paid him to stay quiet Both are unacceptable, and neither negate the other.https://t.co/Zq5y96HmOn