Harvey Weinstein’s lawyer Ben Brafman accused Weinstein accuser Asia Argento of a “stunning level of hypocrisy” following a report that she paid $380,000 to a young actor who accused her of sexual misconduct.
“This development reveals a stunning level of hypocrisy by Asia Argento, one of the most vocal catalysts who sought to destroy Harvey Weinstein,” Brafman said in a statement to TheWrap. “What is perhaps most egregious, is the timing, which suggests that at the very same time Argento was working on her own secret settlement for the alleged sexual abuse of a minor, she was positioning herself at the forefront of those condemning Mr. Weinstein, despite the fact that her sexual relationship with Mr. Weinstein was between two consenting adults which lasted for more than four years.”
The statement continued: “The sheer duplicity of her conduct is quite extraordinary and should demonstrate to everyone how poorly the allegations against Mr. Weinstein were actually vetted and accordingly, cause all of us to pause and allow due process to prevail, not condemnation by fundamental dishonesty.”
Late Sunday, the Times reported that Argento arranged to pay a 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 obtained by the paper 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.
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.
A spokesperson for Argento didn’t immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.