Two days after a report detailed an accusation of sexual assault against #MeToo activist Asia Argento, the Italian actress and filmmaker said she never had a sexual relationship with the young actor whom she agreed to pay $380,000 in a settlement. AP
Italy’s TV Network SKY has announced that if the recent stories that emerged about Asia Argento are proved true, they will be removing her from the show X-FACTOR. Argento, One of the most prominent activists of the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment recently settled a complaint filed against her by a young actor and musician who said she sexually assaulted him when he was 17.
The Guardian reports that Argento was one of the loudest voices of the #MeToo movement, speaking up on behalf of survivors of sexual assault and promising that “More pigs will be revealed”. But since a report in the New York Times on Sunday revealed that she is accused of being an abuser herself, Asia Argento has fallen silent.
Now supporters of #MeToo are faced with a complicated question: what does the movement do with victims who may also be victimizers?
Cynical people are going to use individual examples of women’s bad behavior to argue that sexual harassment and assault are not part of structural misogyny, even that such abuses have no gender at all,” tweeted the feminist writer Moira Donegan in response to the Argento news. “Ignore these people; they have little interest in justice.”
To some feminists, the question was not as unwelcome as one might expect. The #MeToo founder, Tarana Burke, asserted on Twitter that it is only through the kind of hard conversations that will be prompted by stories such as Argento’s that the movement can actually succeed.
“This movement is making space for possibility,” Burke wrote. “But, it can only happen after we crack open the whole can of worms and get really comfortable with the uncomfortable reality that there is no one way to be a perpetrator … and 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.”
That effort to discredit the movement is already in full swing.
One figure who leapt at the chance to undermine a movement built around believing women was Harvey Weinstein, the disgraced Hollywood producer whom Argento and scores of other women accused of sexually harassment and assault.
Weinstein has pleaded not guilty to rape and criminal sex act charges in New York court.