ROME – An open letter by 124 women in Italy’s film community denouncing sexual harassment is being criticized by Harvey Weinstein accuser Asia Argento – who refused to sign – as being far too weak and coming much too late.
Titled “Dissenso Comune” (Common Dissent), the open letter published Thursday in La Repubblica newspaper was initiated by actress Jasmine Trinca and makes no mention of Argento, who has been at the forefront of the #MeToo movement in the U.S.
In an interview with newspaper Il Fatto Quotidiano, Argento called the document “watered down” and tweeted that she is waiting for “concrete gestures” from the women involved before joining this Italian campaign.
“Denouncing, helping each other, sharing our traumas, demonstrating, screaming our dissent against the patriarchy. Then — yes — we can finally be united and really fight together,” she said.
“They are lashing out against the entire system but they are clearly avoiding naming any names,” Argento added in a separate tweet.
Italian actresses who have named names include Miriana Trevisan, who has accused Oscar-winning Italian director Giuseppe Tornatore of groping her 20 years ago, an accusation he has denied. Trevisan, like Argento, was not among the public letter’s signatories.
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Commenting on the document, Trevisan tweeted: “It would be more honest to say: ‘We are forced not to expose anyone because the system is so deeply ingrained that we would lose our jobs’.”
Argento, who has been ridiculed by the Italian press for accusing Weinstein of rape in the New Yorker expose by Ronan Farrow, led a Rome march last month (pictured) in support of the #MeToo movement. During the march, she lamented that the presence of Italy’s film community was scarce.
However, director Laura Bispuri, who is among the “Dissenso Comune” signatories and whose films “Sworn Virgin” and “Daughter of Mine” — set to world premiere in Berlin — explore changing female identities, said that she considered the #MeToo movement crucial to raising awareness about a problem that transcends the film world.
“In Italy a women is murdered every three days [by partners or former partners],” she said. “This is a fact, not an opinion…We are talking about a gigantic level of abuse of which molestation is one very serious aspect…
“Luckily #MeToo is paving the way for discussion and a greater awareness of this problem,” she added. “What I find upsetting is how difficult it’s been — and still is — to see it clearly….And I think this American movement is hugely important, because it’s starting to shed light on this.”