#MeToo Founder warns against letting Asia Argento controversy derail movement

Tarana Burke took to Twitter to encourage continued support of the movement she created in spite of allegations that the Italian actress and outspoken #MeToo advocate paid off a teenager who says she assaulted him

Tarana Burke
Tarana Burke attends Variety's Power Of Women: New York at Cipriani Wall Street on April 13, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)

Following news that actress Asia Argento paid off a young actor who accused her of sexual assault, the founder of #MeToo warns against letting the report discredit the movement.

Argento was one of the first women to accuse Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein of rape, but according to the New York Times, the Italian screen star allegedly attempted to silence her own sexual assault accuser. The report states that she paid former child actor Jimmy Bennett $380,000 after he claimed she assaulted him in a California hotel in 2013, two months after his 17th birthday. The age of consent in California is 18, The Hollywood Reporter noted.

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#MeToo creator Tarana Burke took to Twitter on Monday and responded to the report, stressing, ”I’ve said repeatedly that the #metooMVMT is for all of us, including these brave young men who are now coming forward,” she wrote. Just like “there is no one way to be a perpetrator,” she says, “there is no model survivor.”

“We are imperfectly human and we all have to be accountable for our individual behavior,” Burke continued. “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!’”

See Burke’s full thread below.

Meanwhile, Argento’s former bestie and greatest ally, Rose McGowan, publicly distanced herself from the film star after tweeting that her “heart is broken” following the news.

“None of us know the truth of the situation and I’m sure more will be revealed. Be gentle,” she later added.

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Rosanna Arquette, another Weinstein accuser, wrote on Twitter, “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.”

Writer and activist Sil Lai Abrams, one of Russell Simmons’ accusers, shared that she was “shaking with anger at what [Argento] did to her victim and frightened about the potential implications her actions have for the #MeToo movement overall.”

But she went on to say that “A person can be a victim and a perpetrator. One fact does not erase the other. Irrespective of their gender, perpetrators must be held accountable.” Adding, “Just because Asia Argento is a victim of Harvey Weinstein’s predation doesn’t mean that she should be treated differently for her own predation of an underage boy #MeToo.”

Argento has not yet responded to the Times report.

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