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Tarana Burke, Rose McGowan React to Asia Argento Controversy

Asia Argento
Asia Argento

Reports that Argento paid off a man who accused her of sexual assault shouldn't discredit the entire #MeToo movement, activists say.

After a report from The New York Timesthat Harvey Weinstein accuser Asia Argenta paid $380,000 to silence Jimmy Bennett -- a young actor who alleged she, at 37, had sexually assaulted him when he was 17 years old (a year under California's age of consent) -- other leaders of the #MeToo movement are speaking out.

Both Tarana Burke, the activist who originated the phrase before it became a hashtag, and fellow Weinstein accuser Rose McGowan took to Twitter to react to the report.

Burke took the news as an opportunity to highlight that men are victims of sexual misconduct.

She also noted that just as there is "no one way to be a perpetrator," there is "no model survivor" either.

McGowan, who has had her share of controversies and has defended Argento in the past, asked for the public to "be gentle" in the face of these alarming reports.

Jimmy Bennett was a child actor who played Argento's son in the 2004 film The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things. He claims the actress assaulted him in 2013. In Instagram posts, Argento referred to Bennett as her "long lost son."

Argento has yet to comment on the report. Carrie Goldberg, her lawyer who handled the matter, has not responded to emails from the Times but wrote a telling email to her client during the exchange of money.

"Ultimately, you decided against the non-disclosure language because you felt it was inconsistent with the public messages you've conveyed about the societal perils of non-disclosure agreements," Goldberg wrote to Argento. "Bennett could theoretically tell people his claims against you ... However, under this agreement, he cannot sue you for them. Nor can he post the photo of the two of you."

She's referring to a selfie from May 9, 2013, which features the two lying in bed. The Times received it through an encrypted email.

Bennett sent his demand for money a month before Argento was included in the explosive expose in which she and 13 other women accused Harvey Weinstein of harassment and rape. She alleges Weinstein raped her at the Cannes Film Festival in 1997, when she was 21.

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