Asia Argento on Monday threatened “immediate legal action” against Rose McGowan, demanding in a tweet that her former friend and fellow Harvey Weinstein accuser retract the contents of an August 27 statement about sexual misconduct accusations lodged against Argento.
“It is with genuine regret that I am giving you 24 hours to retract and apologise for the horrendous lies made against me in your statement of August 27th,” said Argento in the tweet, tagging McGowan personally.
“If you fail to address this libel I will have no option other than to take immediate legal action.”
The statement Argento is referring to was a lengthy declaration issued by McGowan, distancing herself after Argento was accused of sexually assaulting a former male co-star named Jimmy Bennett.
In her statement, McGowan said that her partner, model Rain Dove, gave the LAPD text messages between Argento and Dove, in which Argento acknowledged having had sex with actor Bennett despite a public denial of sexual contact with the then-17-year-old actor in a Marina del Rey hotel room in 2013.
“Its sad to lose a friend connection, but whats even more sad is what happened to Jimmy Bennet[t],” McGowan wrote. “There absolutely should be no leeway or tolerance for sexual assault.”
A little over a week ago, Argento zeroed in one particular aspect of McGowan’s statement: “Rain also shared that Asia had stated that she’d been receiving unsolicited nudes of Jimmy since he had been 12.”
Argento tweeted that Rain Dove had revised their own account to clarify that Argento said she had been receiving nude photos from Bennett since he was 17, not 12. Citing “my mistake in interpreting the texts,” Dove added, “Still underage nudes received.”
Argento did not address in her tweets McGowan’s primary concern about Argento’s response to receiving nudes from an underage boy: “Asia mentioned in these texts that she didn’t take any action on those images. No reporting to authorities, to the parents, or blocking of Jimmy’s social media. Not even a simple message ‘Don’t send me these images. They are inappropriate.’”
It is unclear if there are other aspects of McGowan’s August 27 statement that Argento regards as “horrendous lies.” Reps for McGowan and Argento did not immediately respond to request for comment.
After emerging as a leader in the MeToo movement after accusing Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault (a claim his lawyers have denied), Argento found herself on the other side of the fence when Bennett came forward to claim he engaged in unwanted sexual relations with his former director and co-star when he was 17 and she was 37.
Argento agreed to pay Bennett $380,000 last year as part of a private settlement. According to a statement this month from her attorney Mark Jay Heller, Bennett received $250,000 but will not receive the balance.