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Media Reacts to Asia Argento Payout: ‘Two Things Can Be True at Once’

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.

The New York Times broke the story Sunday evening that former child actor and musician Jimmy Bennett had received $380,000 from Argento after the 2013 encounter in a California hotel.

Rosanna Arquette repeatedly warned her followers on Twitter that the Bennett settlement was a case of extortion.

Tarana Burke, the activist who founded the Me Too movement, cautioned not to let people discredit the movement because of the allegation.

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.”

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.

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.

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.”

Journalist Emily H. Johnson emphasized that the Asia Argento report doesn’t undermine the #MeToo movement.

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?”

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