By Jericka Duncan CBS News August 22, 2018, 6:39 PM Actor speaks out for first time about alleged abuse by Asia Argento
NEW YORK — A photo emerged Wednesday of Asia Argento, a leading voice of the #MeToo movement, and actor Jimmy Bennett, who has accused her of sexual abuse. It was released by TMZ less than 24 hours after Argento denied ever having a sexual relationship with Bennett.
The photo appears to show Argento lying next to Bennett when he was 17 and she was 37.
According to The New York Times, Argento agreed to pay Bennett $380,000 in Oct. 2017, shortly after she accused Harvey Weinstein of raping her. But in a statement released Tuesday, Argento says that she and her then boyfriend Anthony Bourdain decided to deal "compassionately" with Bennett's demands for financial help.
Bennett and Argento worked together on a movie when he was 7 years old.
On Wednesday, Bennett, now 22, released a statement that reads: "I did not initially speak out about my story because I chose to handle it in private with the person who wronged me. My trauma resurfaced as she came out as a victim herself."
Bennett goes on to say: "I was underage when the event took place, and I tried to seek justice in a way that made sense to me at the time because I was not ready to deal with the ramifications of my story becoming public. At the time I believed there was still a stigma to being in the situation as a male in our society."
TMZ also published text messages, allegedly from Argento, saying, "I had sex with him it felt weird. I didn't know he was a minor until the shakedown letter … The horny kid jumped me."
CBS News has not confirmed the authenticity of the texts. Bennett did not mention anything about a payment in his statement. Argento's attorney has not returned requests for comment.
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