#MeToo leader paid hush money to teen after assault claim: report

Leader of #MeToo movement actress Asia Argento (pictured) paid hush money to a former child actor after he sought legal action against her by claiming she sexually assaulted him in a California hotel in 2013 when he was just 17, New York Times reports.

The legal age of consent in California is 18.

The lawyer of actor-musician Jimmy Bennett sought $3.5 million in damages from the Italian actress for sexual battery that traumatised the teen, threatening his mental health and income.

The legal notice was filed last November, a month after Argento publicly accused Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein of raping her in his hotel room in 1997 during the Cannes film festival when she was 21.

Times went through correspondences between lawyers for Argento and Bennett sent to them by some unidentified source. The documents were then crosschecked by people familiar with the case.

Besides the documents, the source also included a selfie showing the couple in bed dated May 2013.

In March this year, Argento agreed to pay Bennett $380,000 over 18 months.

Argento’s lawyer Carrie Goldberg said people like Bennett are preying on the strengths and weaknesses of his client.

Bennett had played Argento’s son in the 2004 film The Heart is Deceitful  Above All Things directed by her.

In the legal notice, Bennett’s lawyer said when his client visited Argento’s hotel room, she forced him to drink and sexually assaulted him.

Times tried in vain to contact Argento and Bennett.

In a powerful speech at the Cannes Film Festival in May this year, Argento said she was raped by Weinstein during the festival 21 year ago adding that Cannes was his hunting ground.