The standoff between #MeToo activists Rose McGowan and Asia Argento appears to have been diffused after McGowan issued an apology to Argento — who had threatened legal action over what she termed “horrendous lies.”
The two actors, who had risen to prominence as co-accusers in the Harvey Weinstein scandal, and who have been strongly allied in their activism against sexual abuse and harassment, fell out after Argento was accused of sexual assault by actor Jimmy Bennett in a New York Times article in August. Bennett claimed Argento had paid him $380,000 to keep his silence. Argento has denied the assault allegation.
Having already commented that she was heartbroken at the news, McGowan took a stronger position on August 27, posting in a statement on Twitter that said there must be “no leeway or tolerance for sexual assault” and that she hoped Argento would find the courage to “do the right thing,” “be honest,” and to “be the person you wish Harvey could have been.”
Argento shot back on September 17, demanding an apology within 24 hours, or McGowan would face legal action. The following day, Argento doubled down, saying she had instructed her lawyers to “seek substantial damages for deception, fraud, coercion and libel.”
Finally responding publicly late last week, McGowan posted on Twitter that an earlier statement she had made about the allegations against Argento “contained a number of facts that were not correct,” and that she “deeply regret[s] not correcting my mistake sooner and apologize to Asia for not doing so.”
In her statement, McGowan said her most serious error was in alleging that Bennett had sent nude images to Argento when he was a 12-year-old, and that Argento had not conducted herself appropriately when she received them. McGowan said she “misunderstood the messages that Asia exchanged with my partner Rain Dove.”
Argento accepted the apology, but noted that the misunderstanding and allegations had come at a cost. Posting on Twitter, Argento wrote, “Although I am grateful to @rosemcgowan for her full apology following her groundless allegations about me, if she had issued it earlier, I may have kept my job on X-Factor and avoided the constant accusations of pedophilia which I have been subjected to in real-life and online.”
She followed up with, “Now go on, live your life and stop hurting other people, will you Rose? Best wishes.”
Bennett, according to reports, accused Argento of sexually assaulting him in 2013 when he was 17 and she was 37. The encounter allegedly took place at a hotel in California where the age of consent is 18.
In a statement made to Variety, Bennett, who is now 22, said he didn’t come forward publicly sooner “because I was ashamed and afraid to be part of the public narrative,” a point he elaborated on last week during an appearance on Italian TV. Bennett has said that after Argento publicly accused Harvey Weinstein of rape last year, the trauma he says he suffered from the alleged encounter with Argento reemerged.
Police in Los Angeles are investigating Bennett’s claim, The Guardian reports, after it emerged no report to police had been made at the time of the alleged assault in 2013.
Read the full story at The Guardian.