NYT: # MeToo booster paid to keep accusations in check

The Italian actress and director Asia Argento, one of the pioneers of the # MeToo movement, reached an amicable settlement with a minor actor who accused her of abuse, caused a surprise in Hollywood and led producer Harvey Weinstein's lawyer to criticize from "hypocrite" to Argento.

The news came out thanks to the information in the New York Times, which stated that Argento had reached an amicable settlement with actor Jimmy Bennet, agreeing to pay $ 380,000 to stop the accusations against him.

Meanwhile, authorities have announced on Monday that they are investigating allegations of sexual abuse against Argento, one of the most prominent activists of the # Mtoo movement against sexual violence.

The head of the Sheriff's Office in Los Angeles County, Darren Harris, said that his department's agents want to talk to Jimmy Bennett or his representatives about the alleged incident that took place in a Southern California hotel in 2013 when Bennett 17 years old.

The meeting between Argento, then 37, and the rock musician and actor Jimmy Bennet, 17 at the time – they met in a film she made of her mother – happened at the Marina del Rey hotel in California. . The age of legal consent for sexual relations in that state is 18 years.

Argento, who claimed to have been raped by Weinstein, is one of the best-known faces of the dozens of women who accused the powerful Hollywood producer of many sexual assaults.

The Weinstein lawyer criticized the & # 39; hypocrisy & # 39; of Asia Argento because he was one of the first people to accuse his client of sexual assault, while at the same time he had agreed to a minor who had accused her of a similar crime.

In a statement, lawyer Ben Brafman, who represents Weinstein, said that the news known today "reveals an impressive level of hypocrisy on the part of Asia Argento." The lawyer defined the Italian as one of the people who tried to destroy the producer.

"What is perhaps most outrageous is the moment, suggesting that at the same time that Argento worked on his own secret agreement for the alleged sexual abuse of a minor, she positioned herself at the forefront of those who condemned Weinstein, despite the fact that his sexual relationship with Weinstein was one of consent between two adults and lasted more than four years, "he said.

The allegations of sexual abuse in Hollywood that had been hidden for so long, that have monopolized the headlines and released a wave of accusations that seem to have no end, have again become astonishing.

The reactions of celebrities, including actresses who have accused Weinstein of accusations before the court and the public on social networks, have not waited while the actress and the alleged victim are silent.

"Asia Argento declined to comment on these accusations, people want to hear what they have to say and how they fit into their statements about #MeToo," said Times reporter Jodi Kantor, co-author of the Weinstein story. that movement.

One of the first to hear her voice was the activist Tarana Burke, founder of the "MeToo", who became a label following the complaints of countless women against Weinstein, who asked that the movement should not be discredited with the charge against the Italian actress

"People will use these new stories to discredit this movement, do not let that happen," Burke said in his Twitter account.

He argued that #MeToo is for everyone, "including these brave young people coming out to make complaints" and stated that sexual violence is "about power and privilege". "That does not change if the perpetrator is your favorite actress, activist or teacher of any gender," he argued.

Argento, 42, whose partner, Anthony Bourdain, took his life last June, used the latest edition of the Cannes Film Festival in May to repeat her claim that Weinstein raped her in 1997, right in Cannes, when she was 21. year.

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