UPDATED: Most celebrities have not been vocal so far about the news that Asia Argento paid a young actor a settlement after a sexual encounter when he was 17.
Rosanna Arquette repeatedly warned her followers on Twitter that the Bennett settlement was a case of extortion.
I know many many rape and trauma survivors who act out sexually The wounds they carry run deep. I pray for them. the timing of this story is suspect. Asia was still raped by Harvey Weinstein.
— ✌🏼rosanna arquette (@RoArquette) August 20, 2018
Tarana Burke, the activist who founded the Me Too movement, cautioned not to let people discredit the movement because of the allegation.
People will use these recent news stories to try and discredit this movement – don’t let that happen. This is what Movement is about. It’s not a spectator sport. It is people generated. We get to say “this is/isn’t what this movement is about!”
— Tarana (@TaranaBurke) August 20, 2018
Members of the media were less circumspect than Hollywood talent, although some questioned why the accuser was named and cautioned that the news should not overtake the progress made by the Me Too movement.
Oscar observer Brian Perry tweeted, “The big Q is whether people will look past this moment to still embrace all Asia has done for #MeToo.”
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The big Q is will ppl look past this moment to still embrace all Asia has done for #MeToo.
And if so, will ppl accept some of the genuine remorse from a few of the men involved in accusations.
We claim ppl deserve redemption.
Or do we?
— Brian Perry (@Road2Oscars) August 20, 2018
The New York Times’ Jodi Kantor, co-writer of the Harvey Weinstein story that helped kick off the Me Too movement, cautioned that Asia Argento has yet to comment on the allegations.
So far @AsiaArgento has declined to comment on these allegations. Still hoping she speaks up. People are going to want to hear what she has to say and how it meshes with her other statements about #metoo. https://t.co/2xuWsSPtSp
— Jodi Kantor (@jodikantor) August 20, 2018
Mark Harris, Vulture journalist and author, said, “This is awful, but I don’t see any conclusion to draw from it besides “Two things can be true at once.” He was among several people on Twitter reminding that it is not uncommon for those who are abused to go on to abuse others.
This is awful, but I don't see any conclusion to draw from it besides "Two things can be true at once." https://t.co/4mi3zQPUmv
— Mark Harris (@MarkHarrisNYC) August 20, 2018
Producer and New York Times op-ed writer Wajahat Ali was also adamant that “Whatever happens in the Asia Argento case doesnt take away from the fact Harvey Weinstein and many powerful men have preyed upon women, abused them, exploited them and have had their sins covered and buried, but now society is waking up and saying no more.”
Whatever happens in the Asia Argento case doesnt take away from the fact Harvey Weinstein and many powerful men have preyed upon women, abused them, exploited them and have had their sins covered and buried, but now society is waking up and saying no more.
— Wajahat "Wears a Mask Because of a Pandemic" Ali (@WajahatAli) August 20, 2018
Journalist Emily H. Johnson emphasized that the Asia Argento report doesn’t undermine the #MeToo movement.
This revelation about Asia Argento doesn't undermine the #MeToo movement. It shows that rape causes damage that reverberates through the world in incalculable ways. That doesn't mean what she did isn't utterly fucked up, or that she shouldn't be held accountable.
— Emily H. Johnson (@EmilyJReports) August 20, 2018
In France, where the #MeToo movement has never been embraced and has been criticized by prominent figures such as Catherine Deneuve, the news about Argento has been heavily covered by mainstream media, including every national newspaper.
French feminist and #MeToo supporter Francois Laborde tweeted: “It’s devastating because it will weaken the voices of all the other #MeToo victims. How can you present yourself as a justice-seeker knowing that you’re guilty?”
#AsiaArgento: mais nooooon???? C’est accablant parce que ça va affaiblir la parole des toutes les autres victimes #MeToo. Comment peut-on se présenter en justicière quand on se sait coupable ? https://t.co/MKTK4B6S7p
— Francoise Laborde (@frlaborde) August 20, 2018