Asia Argento called actor who accused her of sexual assault 'my son, my love' on Instagram

Ever since her accusations of being raped by disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein went public last fall, Asia Argento has been one of the most prominent faces of the #MeToo movement. On Sunday, however, the Italian actress and director was the subject of her own New York Times investigation, with the paper reporting that she paid actor and musician Jimmy Bennett $380,000 after he accused her of sexual assault. Bennett, now 22, was 17 and below the legal age of consent at the time of the alleged 2013 incident.

Asia Argento poses with a 7-year-old Jimmy Bennett, center, and co-stars Cole and Dylan Sprouse at a 2003 wrap party for their film, The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things. (Photo: Jeff Vespa/WireImage)

The Times reports that Bennett, who was 7 years old when he was cast as Argento’s son in the 2004 film The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things, reportedly pursued legal action after his former co-star emerged as an advocate for survivors of sexual assault following her revelations about Weinstein.

Argento has been a prominent voice of the #MeToo movement following her revelations about Harvey Weinstein. (Photo: Loic Venance/AFP/Getty Images)

Documents obtained by the Times allege that the former child star met with Argento in a California hotel room on May 9, 2013, where he says she performed oral sex on him before initiating intercourse.  Bennett said the incident, which took place three months after his 17th birthday, left him feeling “extremely confused, mortified, and disgusted.”

His legal team reportedly sought $3.5 million for “intentional infliction of emotional distress, lost wages, assault, and battery,” though it appears that a settlement of $380,000 was agreed upon. A letter addressed to Argento from her lawyer, Carrie Goldberg, in April acknowledges the payment and refers to “s***ty individuals who’ve preyed” on her. 

“We hope nothing like this ever happens to you again,” Goldberg is said to have written to the 42-year-old Argento. “You are a powerful and inspiring creator and it is a miserable condition of life that you live among s***ty individuals who’ve preyed on both your strengths and your weaknesses.”

While neither Bennett nor Argento and her legal team have publicly responded to the allegations, social media shows that they did in fact meet on May 9, 2013. Argento, who was the girlfriend of celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain until his death by suicide in June, posted several Instagram photos at their reunion, calling it the “happiest day of my life.” She also referred to Bennett as “my son, my love until I live.” In one caption, she thanks Bennett for the “sunshine you gave to me.”

Argento took a selfie with Bennett on the day he claims she sexually assaulted him. (Photo: Asia Argento via Instagram)

The photos have been flooded with comments attacking Argento since the Times report broke Sunday night.

Meanwhile, the accusations against Argento have sparked major controversy, with some blasting her as a hypocrite and others arguing that her own history shouldn’t be used to discount #MeToo or her alleged experience with Weinstein.

Actress Rose McGowan, another Weinstein accuser who had befriended Argento after their stories went public, has also addressed the report.

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