Asia Argento returns to Twitter to accuse former friend Rain Dove of spreading lies about Anthony Bourdain's death

Asia Argento has returned to Twitter for the first time since the New York Times reported that she and actor Jimmy Bennett agreed to a $380,000 settlement after he accused her of sexually assaulting him in a May 2013 encounter when he was 17 years old. Argento has called Bennett’s claims “false.”

Asia Argento is feuding with Rain Dove over her new claims against former child star Jimmy Bennett. (Photo: Valery Hache/AFP/Getty Images)

Argento and former friend Rain Dove exchanged heated tweets Wednesday morning, after Dove posted a link to an article in which Argento’s lawyer, Mark Heller, insisted that Bennett would not receive the remainder of the money owed to him as part of his settlement.

Dove called on Argento to “tell the truth.” (Photo: David M. Benett/Getty Images for Love/Conde Nast)

On Tuesday Heller told TMZ that Bennett, who was 7 years old when he played the Italian actress and director’s son in 2004’s The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things, was guilty of “sexually attacking” and then extorting Argento.

“Asia chose at the time not to prosecute Bennett for sexually attacking her,” Heller told the site, explaining that his client denied having a sexual relationship with the former child star because she considered it a one-night stand. 

Heller also accused Bennett of taking advantage of Argento’s relationship with Anthony Bourdain, who committed suicide in June. Bourdain allegedly agreed to settle the matter by offering him $380,000, of which $250,000 has actually been paid out.

“[Bennett] chose to intrude on that relationship and demand financial payment from Bourdain in consideration for not embarrassing Asia and indirectly Bourdain,” her attorney told TMZ.

“Asia does not intend to prosecute Bennett for his conduct and recognizes that his unfortunate past, his stalled acting career, and a lawsuit against his own parents for allegedly misappropriating more than a million and a half dollars from his account might explain his desperation to seek money from Asia and Bourdain for this falsely alleged incident that took place more than 5 years ago,” Heller told TMZ.

In a statement to the New York Post, Heller said that Argento does not intend to pay Bennett the remaining $130,000 in his settlement.

“Now that Mr. Bourdain has passed away and is not able to comment on his desire to avoid potential scandal … Asia will not permit any portion of the balance of the $380,000 payment to be paid to Bennett who has already received $250,000 from Anthony Bourdain,” he told the paper, adding that the scandal shouldn’t diminish Argento’s credibility as a witness against Harvey Weinstein or as a #MeToo advocate.

“Asia’s courage to originally make the accusations against Harvey Weinstein has not waned,” Heller said. “Phase Two of the #MeToo movement dictates that the voice of a victim, even one with a history that may be in question, should be heard and she is hopeful that in the Court of Public Opinion it will ultimately be determined that Asia never initiated an inappropriate sexual contact with a minor, but rather she was attacked by Bennett and might even be suffering the fallback of a smear campaign by those already accused who may have a vested interest in their accusers being denied credibility.”

Heller’s comments prompted Dove — the model and activist dating Rose McGowan, who has also accused Weinstein of sexual assault — to call out Argento on Twitter, urging her to “tell the truth.” It was Dove who gave the police incriminating texts Argento sent regarding her relationship with Bennett.

Argento accused Dove of spreading lies about the death of Anthony Bourdain. (Photo: Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)

Argento broke her Twitter silence by responding to Dove’s tweet. Rather than answering her former pal’s question or addressing her lawyer’s new claims, she turned the tables on Dove by accusing him of spreading lies about Bourdain’s death.

She also called Dove a “sick pathological liar” who sold her out by turning over their private texts.

Argento also posted screenshots of furtive texts from Dove, which reference “the truth” about Bourdain’s death. One warns that “people could disappear” if the real story got out, which Dove appears to link to the toxicology report issued on Bourdain.

While Dove continued to admonish Argento for “hurting victims’ voices everywhere” by accusing Bennett of rape, Argento threatened to expose “all the lies [Dove] told me about Anthony’s death.”

Between the speculation about Bourdain’s death, the accusations aimed at Bennett, and the charges that Argento — who has advocated for survivors of sexual assault — is handling her own case in a problematic manner, there’s a lot to unpack here. Will it all be resolved in a courtroom, or will the Twitter blows carry on?

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