Last week, the New York Times reported that actress and #MeToo activist Asia Argento had made a deal to pay off a former co-star, Jimmy Bennett, who accused her of sexually assaulting him when he was a minor. Shortly thereafter, Argento denied the allegations — but text messages were soon leaked to TMZ that purported to contradict Argento’s denial. Now, in a Monday statement released through a publicist, Argento’s fellow #MeToo advocate Rose McGowan revealed that the texts in question came from the person she is dating, Rain Dove.
In her statement, McGowan explains that she and Argento only became close over the past year, after they both went public with their respective allegations of sexual assault against Harvey Weinstein. McGowan writes that, after the death of Argento’s late boyfriend Anthony Bourdain, she introduced the actress to Dove, a model and activist whom McGowan had been dating. McGowan and Dove then visited Berlin with Argento, at which point Argento “mentioned that she was being extorted for a large sum of money every month by someone who was blackmailing them with a provocative image.”
McGowan continues that “no one in the room” knew who the extortionist was at the time. Meanwhile, Dove and Argento stayed in contact after the visit. The statement also reads:
I received a phone call and series of messages from the being I’ve been dating- Rain Dove. They said that they had been texting with Asia and that Asia had revealed that she had indeed slept with Jimmy Bennet. Rain also shared that Asia had stated that she’d been receiving unsolicited nudes of Jimmy since he had been 12. Asia mentioned in these texts that she didn’t take any action on those images. No reporting to authorities, to the parents, or blocking of Jimmy’s social media. Not even a simple message “Don’t send me these images. They are inappropriate.” There were a few other details revealed as well that I am not at liberty to mention in this statement as investigators do their job.
McGowan states that Dove then told her that they were going to turn over the texts to the police. “I responded with ‘You have to. You must.’ I wasted no time. It wasn’t hard to say or support. What was hard was the shell shock of the realization that everything the MeToo movement stood for was about to be in jeopardy,” she writes. Within an hour, she claims, Dove brought the messages to the authorities, and within 48 hours, the messages were in the press.
The statement further reads:
At this current moment it may be easy to focus on the drama of the situation. The conspiracy. But the real focus should be on supporting justice. Supporting honesty. And supporting each other. We can not let this moment break the momentum of a movement that has freed so many people. We must use it to allow us to become stronger. More compassionate. More aware. And More organized.
This post will be updated as the story develops.
Read the full statement below: