Entertainment

Tweets and a Selfie Complicate #MeToo Leader’s Denials of Assault Against Child Co-Star

Jimmy Bennett, then 17, allegedly received hush money from recently deceased celeb chef Anthony Bourdain — who dated the actress

Image Credit: ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/Getty Images

Asia Argento (shown above), the #MeToo leader and early Harvey Weinstein accuser who has denied having sex with child co-star Jimmy Bennett — and whose then-boyfriend Anthony Bourdain apparently paid for the boy’s silence — is facing the revelation of texts and a risqué selfie. These now cast considerable doubt on her version of events, as TMZThe New York Times, and other outlets are reporting, and as “The Ingraham Angle” addressed on Wednesday night.

“Everybody’s got to be held to the same standards, no matter your gender, no matter what you believe,” said Fox News contributor Raymond Arroyo on that night’s Fox News program.

He noted that the Catholic Church is also struggling with the very serious issue of the sexual abuse of minors.

“If you’re a victim of this abuse, you have to come forward, and the authorities should get involved,” Arroyo added.

“But the broad-brushing we’ve been seeing, of men or people of a certain religious persuasion, should be put on the back burner, and every one of these cases should be evaluated on their merits,” he also said. “And I hope that’s what happens, both in Hollywood and in the Catholic Church and elsewhere.”

The tale involving Asia Argento began back in 2013, when actor Jimmy Bennett, then barely 17, says the then-37-year-old Italian filmmaker sexually assaulted him in a Ritz-Carlton hotel room in Marina del Ray, California — a state whose age of consent is 18 years old.

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In a Tuesday statement to journalist Yashar Agi, Argento denied ever having had a sexual relationship with Bennett. She said a Sunday bombshell article published in The New York Times was “absolutely false.”

In the statement, she says that granting Bennett’s “exorbitant request of money” was her then-boyfriend Anthony Bourdain’s idea. He had insisted upon it, in part, Argento said, because he — Bourdain — “had his own reputation as a beloved public figure to protect.”

She also said Bourdain considered Bennett a “dangerous” person he feared could bring “negative publicity” upon the couple.

This past June, Bourdain took his own life.

Incredulously, Argento cast herself as the victim in this statement, saying the situation constituted “long-standing persecution.”

Bennett explained how he came to the decision to reveal the story of the alleged sexual assault in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, published Wednesday afternoon.

“My trauma resurfaced as she came out as a victim [of Harvey Weinstein] herself [last October]. I have not made a public statement in the past days and hours because I was ashamed and afraid to be part of the public narrative,” Bennett said.

His statement followed a Times article on Sunday that included extensive details of the case. TMZ published related texts and photos on Wednesday.

In the texts, Argento appears to have documented the sexual relationship with Bennett. In the photos, allegedly snapped after the pair had sex, the two are shown with their heads on a shared pillow, their upper torsos bared.

In an ironic twist rivaling those portrayed on the big screen, at the tender age of seven, Bennett played Argento’s son in the 2004 film “The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things.” In the film, Bennett’s character is raped.

Bennett, now 22, is living in Los Angeles. Bennett will continue “focusing on his music” in coming days, according to his lawyer, Gordon Sattro, as The Times noted.

Michele Blood is a Flemington, New Jersey-based freelance writer and a regular contributor to LifeZette.

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