Why Asia Argento allegations might actually strengthen #MeToo movement

A report claiming that one of disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein’s most prominent accusers paid off a victim of her own could ultimately strengthen the #MeToo movement, advocates say.

“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!'” tweeted Tarana Burke, the activist who coined the phrase “Me too” for survivors of sexual assault. “And we won’t shift the culture unless we get serious about shifting these false narratives.”

Burke’s tweet came a day after The New York Times reported that Asia Argento, the Italian actress and director who was one of the first women to speak out against Weinstein, arranged to pay $380,000 to Jimmy Bennett, a former co-star 20 years her junior who says Argento sexually assaulted him in a hotel room when he was 17. The age of consent in California is 18.

The allegation, which has not been independently confirmed by NBC News, prompted anger and sadness on social media, with fans slamming Argento as a hypocrite, pedophile and rapist.