The New York Times‘ shocking report detailing sexual assault allegations against Italian actress Asia Argento (one of the first Harvey Weinstein accusers) continues to make waves. The report detailed a settlement paid to former child actor Jimmy Bennett, who received a $380,000 settlement after accusing Argento of sexually assaulting him in 2013 when she was 37, and he was 17. Argento denied the allegations while claiming that her late boyfriend, Anthony Bourdain, had paid hush money to avoid “possible negative publicity,” but many people have pointed out inconsistencies in Argento’s response. Now, fellow Weinstein accuser and #MeToo advocate Mira Sorvino is now speaking out.
In a tweet, Sorvino explained that she didn’t issue an immediate statement on the shocking claims against Argento due to travel, but that she’s been “reeling” over the allegations, and Sorvino elaborates further:
“I have been heartsick over the recent allegations against Asia Argento. Time will clarify things and perhaps she will be exonerated, but if true, there is no lens that makes it better. Child sexual assault is a heinous crime and is against all that I and the MeToo movement stands for. I remain dedicated to fight for all victims and change the culture that encourages abuse of power in sexual relationships.”
Sorvino’s statement takes a different tone than that of Rose McGowan, who similarly said she was “heartbroken.” Yet McGowan was also taken to task for a “be gentle” comment that many viewed as hypocritical — given the Charmed actress’ previous urging of people to “grab a spine and denounce” those who are accused of sexual misconduct.
In very related news, TMZ has published a photo (a key element of the settlement terms that Argento took control of the images) of Argento and Bennett lounging in bed together. The outlet has also posted some screencapped texts of a conversation between Argento and a “friend.” Within that chat, the friend asks, “What’s up with the photo taken in bed?” Argento purportedly replied, “You can see my t*ts. That’s all. It doesn’t mean sh*t.” Argento added that she wasn’t aware of Bennett being underage — it’s a crime in California for an adult to have sex with anyone under age 18, and the incident took place in Marina del Rey — and she insisted, “The horny kid jumped me.”
It’s obviously unclear exactly who is leaking text conversations and photos to TMZ on this story. Asia’s father, famed director Dario Argento, believes that Harvey Weinstein is to blame in an effort to discredit his daughter. That seems unlikely, given that someone who claims to be a “friend” of Asia leaked the most recent texts, and someone else who had access to Bourdain’s phone (or possibly Asia’s phone) has leaked a previous conversation.
Sorvino’s full tweeted statement can be seen below.