Italian movie actress and director Asia Argento is facing pushback in her home country after speaking out about an alleged rape at the hands of disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein. While Argento’s courage in speaking about what happened to her was praised in Hollywood, and helped encourage at least 40 women to speak out about their own experiences of assault at the hands of Weinstein, public opinion in Italy has sided more with Weinstein than with Argento, according to Quartz’s Annalisa Merelli.
Merelli points out that the opinion writers have been remarkably bold in their condemnation of Argento and other actresses speaking out against sexual assault — former journalist and MP Renato Farina, for instance, has suggested that the assaults described by actresses are “prostitution, not rape.” Vittorio Feltri, editor in chief of Libero, a right wing populist newspaper, said that since Weinstein didn’t physically harm Argento that the sex must have been consensual — and that, if anything, Argento should be thankful to Weinstein for forcibly performing oral sex on her. Politician Vittorio Sgarbi went still further, arguing that Weinstein “was actually assaulted by her.”
Prominent Italian women have targeted Argento as well, questioning why she didn’t speak out earlier about the rape or claiming that she deserved what happened to her since she willingly visited Weinstein in his hotel room.