The Argento-Bennett affair and the power of #MeToo

Asia Argento, one of the first actresses to report Harvey Weinstein's harassment, is now accused of having abused actor Jimmy Bennett when he was 17 years old.

Cinzia Sciuto
Cinzia Sciuto MicroMega, Italy
Source: MicroMega
The Argento-Bennett affair and the power of #MeToo - NewsMavens
Asia Argento. Wikicommons

Why this story matters:

The story will certainly be used by #MeToo detractors to discredit the movement, but in fact the revelations show the strength of the phenomenon for two reasons.

The first reason is that, provided the allegations are true, it is probably the #MeToo movement that gave Jimmy Bennett the courage and the opportunity to report Asia Argento -- it is after all thanks to #MeToo that it is no longer considered acceptable to abuse positions of power to obtain sexual favors.

The second reason is that the value of the cause goes far beyond the people who speak out in its name.

Principles and values -- when based on reason and human dignity -- transcend individuals.

That Asia Argento risks being crushed under the weight of her own battle merely shows that the cause can not be distorted and used for the personal interests of those who speak out.

The Argento-Bennett affair should therefore help the movement avoid the dangerous pitfall of the "war of the sexes" and instead put more emphasis on the political point of the question, namely the power structure and asymmetry in relations between genders.

Details from the story:

  • In 2017 the Italian actress and director Asia Argento accused the Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual abuse several years earlier, when the actress was very young.
  • With this public denunciation, Argento became one of the best known faces of the #MeToo movement in Italy, where she also suffered heavy attacks that questioned her story.
  • A few days ago the "New York Times" revealed that Asia Argento had agreed to a payment of 380 thousand dollars to Jimmy Bennett, a young actor and musician, now 22, who accuses Argento of having abused him in 2013, when he was 17 years old.
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