Asia Argento, a strong champion of the #MeToo movement who was recently involved in her own sex scandal, is planning to sue actress Rose McGowan over a statement she made in August concerning the sexual assault accusations against Argento.
Argento posted a tweet early Monday morning, threatening legal action if her former friend didn’t retract comments the actress made in August. Argento called McGowan’s comments “horrendous lies” and “libel.”
Argento is referring to an open letter that McGowan wrote to Argento in August regarding the allegations of sexual assault against Argento from child actor Jimmy Bennett, who claimed that the actress assaulted him when he was 17. Argento then allegedly paid him $380,000 in hush money in the months after she came forward as a Harvey Weinstein accuser.
“Asia, you were my friend,” McGowan wrote. “I loved you. You’ve spent and risked a lot to stand with the #MeToo movement. I really hope you find your way through this process to rehabilitation and betterment. Anyone can be better – I hope you can be, too. Do the right thing. Be honest. Be fair. Let justice stay its course. Be the person you wish Harvey could have been.”
Argento denied Bennett’s allegations, but McGowan decided to sever ties with her friend anyway. “I got to know Asia Argento ten months ago,” McGowan wrote on Twitter. “Our commonality is the shared pain of being assaulted by Harvey Weinstein. My heart is broken. I will continue my work on behalf of victims everywhere.”
McGowan then released her lengthy statement, urging Argento to “do the right thing” and get help. However, in her statement, she also claimed that Argento had confessed to sleeping with Bennett in texts sent to Rain Dove, otherwise known as Josh Latin, who the actress is dating. McGowan also alleged Argento “had stated that she’d been receiving unsolicited nudes of Jimmy since he had been 12.”
“Its sad to lose a friend connection, but whats even more sad is what happened to Jimmy Bennet,” she says. “Whether or not the extortion case is true- it wasn’t fair and it wasn’t right. It is the type of thing I fight against alongside so many.”
Argento responded to McGowan’s statement on Twitter, stating that Dove had “accepted she was wrong” and deleted the tweet and that McGowan needed to do the same.
Since Argento’s Monday tweet demanding McGowan retract her statement, she has tweeted a followup message for McGowan, stating: “The 24hr deadline given to retract your recent false statements about me has now passed. I must inform you & [Rain Dove] that I’ve instructed Mishcon de Reya to seek substantial damages for deception, fraud, coercion and libel. You will hear from them shortly.”
Argento has continued to maintain innocence after Bennett’s accusations surfaced. Bennett released a statement regarding the sexual assault allegations, stating:
“I did not initially speak out about my story because I chose to handle it in private with the person who wronged me,” the statement said. “My trauma resurfaced as she came out as a victim herself. I have not made a public statement in the past days and hours because I was ashamed and afraid to be part of the public narrative. I was underage when the event took place, and I tried to seek justice in a way that made sense to me at the time because I was not ready to deal with the ramifications of my story becoming public.”