Advanced Me Too Movement and the hypocrisy of Asia Argento

  • One of the leading voices of Me too movement being accused of sexual assault has put the authenticity of the movement in jeopardy.

    In late august, the budding Hollywood actor from California United States Jimmy Bennett now 22 has accused Asia Argento now 42 for sexually assaulting him when he was underage in 2013.

    Documents shared between Argento's lawyer Carrie Goldberg and Gordon k Sattro the attorney for the actress leaked a few days ago. The documents confirm the claims made by jimmy who played Argento's son in a 2007 film called ‘’The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things.’’ These documents also included several pictures of both the actors in a hotel room together in 2013 and also leak an agreement that Argento would pay jimmy a $380,8000 settlement. She called these documents absolutely false and labeled it as a propaganda against her because she was one of the first victims to speak up about and accuse the Harvey Weinstein of rape and assault. In a statement she wrote ''I never had any sexual relationship with Bennett. I was linked to him during several years by friendship only, which ended when, subsequent to my exposure in the Weinstein case, Bennett, who was then undergoing major economic problems unexpectedly made a request of huge amount of money from me.’’ The statement further states that Argento’s boyfriend, the late Anthony Bordain decided to pay Bennett the money because he didn't want any negative publicity of any kind and had his own very beloved reputation to protect among his fans.

    These claims put Bennett as a needy teenager looking for a job or solid money but it has put the authenticity and reality of the Me too movement to jeopardy.

    Tarana Burke, a social activist and network coordinator, started utilizing the expression "Me Too" in 2006, on the Myspace social network as a feature of a crusade to advance "empowerment from empathy" among ladies of different ethnicities who have encountered sexual mishandle, especially inside underprivileged communities. Burke who was the one to start the phrase Me too stated that a 13 year old girl trusted her and shared her story of being sexually harassed and Burke now regrets that she didn't say me too to that girl at the time. On October 15, 2017, performing artist Alyssa Milano supported spreading the hashtag #MeToo.

    These hashtags went viral over the internet in many shapes and forms in many different languages all over the globe, with girls from every walk of life telling their stories and coming forward with all the zest and confidence with the hashtag Me too or hashtag Timesup.

    The stories of Argento and Harvey are decade apart but they show the different sides of the same agenda. Argento accused Harvey of the sexual misconduct in a place of work and became a leader of the Me too movement but 16 years later she is the one getting accused of doing the same thing to a minor. Harvey Weinstein’s lawyer Benjamin Brafman didn't let go the opportunity to diminish Argento’s allegations against his client.

    In the late 2017 Hollywood was shocked by the first accusations made by actresses Rose McGowan and Ashley Judd in a story published in the New York times. The story got major media attention and went viral over the social media. With the me too movement on the very rise Harvey Weinstein issued a quick apology stating the fact that he has caused a lot of pain to a lots of women over the years and he is ashamed of his doings. He also retired from his The Weinstein company. But This didn't stop all the women from coming forward with their stories. In a few weeks as much as 20 actresses came forward accusing Harvey of extreme sexual misconduct and harassment. Hollywood icons like Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow said that they were harassed by the Weinstein with Angelina saying she was harassed at a very young age.

    In the light of all the controversy the Weinstein company board decided to cut all the ties with Harvey and his wife left him stating that her priority is her young children. Weinstein spokeswoman Sallie Hofmeister said to a publication that all the allegations of sexual misconduct and rape are completely denied by Mr. Weinstein

    ‘’My trauma resurfaced as she came out as a victim herself’’ Jimmy Bennett stated as his first official statement after the times published their article .‘’I have not made a public statement in the past days and hours because I was ashamed and afraid to be part of the public narrative.’’ He was underage when the event took place, and He tried to seek justice in a way that made sense to him at the time because he was not ready to deal with the ramifications of his story becoming public Bennett told the Hollywood reporter.

    Anyhow whether it was consensual or not, any sexual interaction between the two as of 2013 would be a state crime in California, where the age of proper encounter is 18. Any details of the story don't even matter at this point because Argento has found herself in very hot waters as a powerful Hollywood being taking wrong advantage of young actor desperate for fame and money, this is exactly similar to her story when she came out and the launched the me too movement.

    The me too movement became huge in all parts of the world including Pakistan where after the death of 7 year old zainab in January 2018 started a new wave of Me too stories which took a whole new turn when it was realized that sexually assaulting a minor was punishable for only a few years and was rarely enforced and assault victims are only charged with adultery and are rarely imprisoned. Sheema kermani a classical dancer, came out as the leader of the Me too movement in Pakistan with Frieha Altaf and Meesha Shafi coming out with their own accusations. Meesha shafi accused actor and singer Ali Zafar for sexual misconduct in a place of work. Ali zafar denied all allegations made by Meesha and sent a legal notice of Rupees 100 crore to Meesha Shafi. Meesha Shafi's lawyers responded to the legal notice sent by Ali Zafar saying "We categorically deny all allegations, assertions and/or insinuation made in your notice against our client, all of which are legally and factually incorrect, The Notice is hence rejected it in its entirety." UN women Pakistan came out with a statement stating "There must be consequences for those who choose to abuse and not to comply, We say to the women who are speaking up: we hear you, we are with you." After meesha Shafi came out with her story many other women from Pakistan came out against Ali Zafar accusing him of sexual assault. Some of these women included his fans who wrote their stories on social media. This debacle gained huge media attention and is still a developing story with many women coming out against ali zafar.

    As for the Argento case she is labeled as the main hypocrite in her case with the founder of the me too movement Tana Burke tweeting. ‘’It will continue to be jarring when we hear the names of some of our favourites connected to sexual violence unless we shift from talking about individuals and begin to talk about power. Sexual violence is about power and privilege. That doesn't change if the perpetrator is your favorite actress, activist or professor of any gender.’’

    It is necessary to note here that it is not about the icons and legends being the sexual predators and this movement is not a propaganda against any of the industries big people, it is about that anyone can be the predator, doesn't matter which walk of life a person comes from whether rich or poor he/she can be a sexual predator. Argento being the assailant does not wear away the fact that she was once assaulted by the Weinstein herself, it doesn't not diminish the fact that she was once the victim of sexual assault. On the other hand the victim becoming the predator brings the whole new meaning to the me too movement and steers it into uncharted territories. At this point We should not be in a stage of shock and outrage by seeing our favorite Celebes from all over the world being the predators but we should steer our direction towards an order that allows many people in power and money to sexually misconduct people around them. The authentic conversation should not be the blacks and whites of one particular case but the power and sexual exploitation it allows.

    The intensity of #Metoo, however, is that it takes something that ladies had long stayed silent about and changes it into a unbiased compaign and movement. The purpose of this movement is not at all to organize protests and long speeches but to give girls a voice or power and confidence to stop the violence against them of any kind, and to hold the sexual predators accountable for their actions. There is a colossal amount of work to be done in a sick environment where powerless are fed upon, sexually exploited, abused and sometimes thrown out of their jobs and careers. Uncovering these stories and problems at such scale is revolution itself.

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