The attorney for actor Jimmy Bennett has responded to Asia Argento’s statement earlier this week that she was the victim in their May 2013 sexual encounter, and that she won’t “permit” any future payments of a settlement that was arranged in response to Bennett’s claim that she sexually assaulted him when he was a minor. Gordon K. Sattro provided a lengthy statement 1,400-word announcement penned by Argento’s new attorney, Mark Jay Heller, as “hypocritical,” “non-sensical” and “ludicrous” for “victim-shaming” Bennett under the guise of “launching Phase Two of the #MeToo movement.”
Sattro writes that he is “shocked, appalled, and disgusted by their representations, mischaracterizations, and attack” which are “seemingly crafted with the intent to intimidate, shame, and insult [Bennett] back into silence.”
“Asia has yet to realize that successful women can also be among those who prey on the vulnerable,” Sattro says in the statement. “Predators are not limited to a single sex.”
Heller’s statement on Argento’s behalf doubled down on the Italian star’s claim that she was the victim of the May 9, 2013 “sexual attack,” not Bennett, who was 17 at the time and a minor according to California law. Argento claims she became “frozen” when Bennett got on top of her, but “chose at the time not to prosecute.”
Argento “will not permit any portion of the balance” left from the settlement agreement between her and Bennett to be paid “for this falsely alleged incident,” Heller wrote in the statement released late Tuesday. The $380,000 settlement was arranged last year by attorneys for the late-Anthony Bourdain, Argento’s then-boyfriend; Bourdain “chose” to arrange a “financial payout,” Heller wrote, in order “to protect Asia’s and his reputation” as “early and prominent supporters of the #MeToo movement.” Argento was among the first group of women to accuse powerful movie producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault, whose public reckoning launched the #MeToo movement.
In the statement, Argento and her attorney announced “Phase 2” of the #MeToo movement, which “dictates that the voice of a victim, even one with a history that may be in question, should be heard.” It went on to imply that Bennett’s sexual assault accusation was part of a “smear campaign.”
“It would seem that Asia is implying that her truth is the actual truth because of her perceived position in this all too important movement and a delusional view of her own importance to it,” Sattro writes. The statement went on to say that he and Bennett would be “cooperating “with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, which is looking into the 2013 incident, and would “secure the balance of funds due under the legally enforceable agreement” which Bennett intends to donate to the #MeToo movement.
Attorney Gordono K. Sattro’s Full Statement on Behalf of Jimmy Bennett:
This situation has escalated due to Asia’s offensive and dismissive interpretation of this situation in whole. After reviewing the letter from Asia’s THIRD attorney, I am shocked, appalled, and disgusted by their representations, mischaracterizations, and attacks. If I were to sum up the letter from Asia and her attorney in a single word it would be “hypocritical,” with a close second being “non-sensical.”
We read this statement as a self-serving and slanderous one which is offensive, not only to my client, but in all likelihood to victims both silent and outspoken, everywhere. It would seem that Asia is implying that her truth is the actual truth because of her perceived position in this all too important movement and a delusional view of her own importance to it.
Representing Asia as launching Phase Two of the #MeToo movement where “a victim who has some negative history should have the courage to come forward and say ‘me too, I was a victim of sexual assault’ and whatever might color my past does not negate the truth of what happened to me,” while victim-shaming my client in the same statement is ludicrous in the highest regard. Asia has yet to realize that successful women can also be among those who prey on the vulnerable. Predators are not limited to a single sex.
It should be made clear that Asia’s attacks on my client’s character have no bearing on the events that took place on May 9, 2013, and the statements in her most recent letter are seemingly crafted with the intent to intimidate, shame, and insult our client back into silence. This is a familiar tactic which has been criticized by the #MeToo movement repeatedly over the past year. In Hollywood, the one thing that has never and will never be condoned, or tolerated, is the abuse of child actors.
With the above in mind, we have decided that we are going to secure the balance of funds due under the legally enforceable agreement between Jimmy and Asia and we will be cooperating with the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department. Upon securing the outstanding funds owed, Jimmy will be donating the entirety of it to the #MeToo movement.