Asia Argento Paid $380,000 to an Underage Sexual Assault Accuser (Report)

Argento paid a settlement with a young actor who accused her of sexually assaulting him in a California hotel room when he was 17, according to the New York Times

Asia Argento
Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

Asia Argento, the actress-director who emerged last fall as one of disgraced mogul Harvey Weinstein’s first accusers, paid $380,000 to a young actor who accused her of sexually assaulting him when he was just 17, The New York Times reported on Sunday.

According to documents obtained by the Times, Argento arranged to pay the settlement last November to Jimmy Bennett, a now-22-year-old actor-musician who played Argento’s son in the 2004 film “The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things.”

The documents indicate that Bennett met Argento in a California hotel room in May 2013 — when he was just two months after his 17th birthday — where he said she sexually assaulted him. Bennett’s lawyer, Gordon K. Sattro, had sent Argento an intent to sue her for $3.5 million in damages for the infliction of emotional distress, lost wages, assault and battery.

Bennett’s income dropped from $2.7 million in the five years before the 2013 encounter to an average of $60,000 since, according to the documents. Sattro wrote that Bennett attributes the drop in income to the trauma of his sexual encounter with Argento.

The Times also quoted from a letter from Argento’s lawyer, Carrie Goldberg, detailing both the monetary settlement and a schedule of payments intended to be “helping Mr. Bennett.”

According to the Times, the agreement between Argento and Bennett “does not prevent either party from discussing it” and Goldberg noted in one document that California law doesn’t allow nondisclosure agreements in cases involving this sort of accusation.

Argento’s team didn’t immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment; a rep for Bennett declined to comment.

Bennett, who has worked as an actor in Hollywood since he was 6 years old, appeared in “Amityville Horror,” “Firewall,” “Poseidon” and “Hostage.” He also played Argento’s 8-year-old son in the 2004 film “The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things,” which she also directed.

Since coming forward in November with the allegations about Weinstein, Argento has become a leading figure in the #MeToo movement and was joined in the fight by her boyfriend Anthony Bourdain, who died in June of an apparent suicide.

Argento’s emergence as an advocate against sexual misconduct in the industry prompted Bennett to come forward. “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,” Sattro wrote in his letter of intent to sue, according to the Times.