There are some sequels we want and get deeply excited about, and then there are the sequels that really should have been workshopped through a focus group first. Asia Argento is currently fighting in the court of public opinion against her accuser Jimmy Bennett, and she recently revealed that she’s trying to make #MeToo: Phase Two happen. The goal of which is no doubt going to have some people saying: “Uh, I think I’ll stick with the original, thanks.”
A little over two weeks ago, it was revealed that Asia Argento had paid off Jimmy Bennett, a former co-star of hers, after an alleged sexual encounter that happened in 2013 when she was 37. Asia claimed it never happened. Leaked texts and a photo showed otherwise. Jimmy says he waited so long to say anything, because he was afraid. Asia then changed her tune and claimed it was Jimmy who had sexually assaulted her, and he was demanding money to keep quiet and not embarrass her.
Today, Deadline says that her lawyer Mark Jay Heller released a very long statement in which he announced that she has launched Phase Two of the #MeToo movement. Asia was a big name in the #MeToo movement when it happened Fall 2017; her rape accusations against Harvey Weinstein contributed to his outing as an alleged predator.
“This is Phase Two of the #MeToo movement. A victim who has some negative history should have the courage to come forward and say ‘me too, I was a victim of sexual assault’ and whatever might color my past does not negate the truth of what happened to me.
“When the true facts are clarified, we know Asia will return to her International prominence as an award winning and acclaimed Actress, musician and Director. She will continue to work on behalf of the silenced, maligned and slighted victims who are afraid to speak out in the face of consequence. Her truth will promote and support both Phase One and Phase Two of the #MeToo movement.”
The statement also goes on to claim that Asia had a friendship with Jimmy, not a relationship, and that he initiated everything while she “froze.” It also accuses Jimmy of becoming jealous when he found out that Asia was dating Anthony Bourdain, and decided to demand hush money from Anthony because Jimmy thought he was rich. Asia has said that Anthony was the one who initiated the $380,000 settlement.
Forgetting for a second about that part in the #MeToo: Phase Two mission statement about your past not negating the truth, Asia’s lawyer dredged up a whole list of alleged things from Jimmy’s past. Like that in 2014, Jimmy was allegedly charged by the LAPD for “unlawful sex with a minor” (which would have happened when Jimmy was 18), and that Jimmy allegedly had a history of drug use.
A press release for your damage control campaign might work on the general public, but I have a feeling the police will want something a little more serious, like an interview. And it sounds like that’s the direction this is all headed. It was mentioned in Asia’s statement that she had no intentions of prosecuting Jimmy, because his “unfortunate past” and “his stalled acting career” explained why he came after her for money. TMZ says that Jimmy, on the other hand, is interested in getting the police involved. He plans on filing a sexual assault claim with the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department, and will fully co-operate with police during an investigation.
Sources tell TMZ that Jimmy decided he would finally go to the police after Asia’s lawyer released that statement blaming his past and “failed” career on his decision to speak out. His lawyer Gordon Sattro says:
“The attack on my client’s character has no bearing on the events that took place on May 9, 2013. These are statements that are meant to intimidate, shame and insult my client.”
Asia’s lawyer responded by encouraging Jimmy to come forward, and adds that Asia would continue to defend herself against any false allegations. All in the name of MeTooTwo, I guess. It’s also important to note that Asia didn’t start #MeToo – that would be Tarana Burke. And I’m pretty sure Tarara hasn’t franchised out the term. At least Russell Simmons is probably okay with it. After all, he’s no longer the owner of the most misguided #MeToo-adjacent hashtag.