In 2017, Italian actress Asia Argento's name made it into the headlines numerous times, and it's not only because she began a relationship with the late Anthony Bourdain.
Argento has been one of the prominent figures who helped bring the sexual assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein to light.
Last October, the 42-year-old actress told the New Yorker magazine that the Hollywood producer raped her at the Cannes Film Festival in 1997, when she was 21.
Like many other victims of sexual assault and harassment, Argento said she continued her rapport with Weinstein and did not report him out of fear that he would retaliate.
This is the speech I wrote and spoke out loud tonight at Cannes. For all the brave women who came forward denouncing their predators, and for all the brave women who will come forward in the future. We got the power #metoo pic.twitter.com/ttJN1pNFxR— Asia Argento (@AsiaArgento) May 19, 2018
More recently, the #MeToo activist faced some backlash after Bourdain's death by suicide on June 8.
After she posted a now-deleted photo on Instagram with a cryptic message a day before the celebrity chef died, some people started to harass her and blame her for causing his death.
At the time, many of her fellow #MeToo survivors, including Charmed actress Rose McGowan came to her defense on social media and through other media outlets, like the Los Angeles Times.
"Many of these people who lost their ‘friend’ are wanting to lash out and blame," McGowan wrote in an open letter defending her friend. "You must not sink to that level. Suicide is a horrible choice, but it is that person’s choice."
"Do NOT do the sexist thing and burn a woman on the pyre of misplaced blame. Anthony’s internal war was his war, but now she’s been left on the battlefield to take the bullets. It is in no way fair or acceptable to blame her or anyone else, not even Anthony."
"Anthony would never have wanted Asia to be hurt, I’d like to think he would want us to have the collective conversation that needs to be had about depression. Blame is NOT a conversation, it is the shutting down of our collective growth. Which is where we are now."
Two months later, McGowan is singing a very different tune after the New York Times published an exposé in which they revealed that Argento herself has been previously accused of sexually assaulting a minor.
"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," McGowan tweeted. "None of us know the truth of the situation and I’m sure more will be revealed. Be gentle," she added in a second tweet posted hours later.
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.— rose mcgowan (@rosemcgowan) August 20, 2018
None of us know the truth of the situation and I’m sure more will be revealed. Be gentle.— rose mcgowan (@rosemcgowan) August 20, 2018
What's even more surprising is that the actress paid her accuser a huge sum of money so he would stay silent, according to the court papers obtained by the newspaper.
The legal documents, which were included in an email from an anonymous source, showed that a 22-year-old actor named Jimmy Bennett accused Argento of "sexual battery," which occurred during a meeting they had in a Los Angeles hotel room when he was 17 years old.
The pair co-starred in the 2004 film The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Thing. Argento, who was also the director, played Bennett's mother in the movie.
Bennett alleged that after Argento asked the family member he was with to leave them alone, she offered him alcohol before kissing him, performing oral sex and finally having intercourse with him.
After Argento spoke out against Weinstein last fall, Bennett's attorney's reportedly sent her a letter revealing their intent to pursue legal action. They alleged that their client was significantly affected by the trauma and he lost a lot of income as a result.
"His feelings about that day were brought to the forefront recently when Ms. Argento took the spotlight as one of the many victims of Harvey Weinstein," read the letter.
Instead of going to court, the actress agreed to pay the Daddy Day Care actor a total of $380,000 "over the course of a year and a half," starting with a lump sum payment of $200,000.
New York Times reported that the pair haven't spoken since the first payment was made in April. However, on July 17, Argento did "Like" a photo Bennett posted on his Instagram page.
Bennett's legal team responded to the news with a statement that read: "In the coming days, Jimmy will continue doing what he has been doing over the past months and years, focusing on his music."
As for Argento, neither her nor her team have commented on the scandalous allegations. We'll share more details as they become available.
[H/T: New York Times]