Now CNN climbs onto the #MeToo backlash bandwagon
Channel won't air any episodes of Anthony Bourdain’s ‘Parts Unknown’ that feature activist actress Asia Argento
A #MeToo activist and Harvey Weinstein rape accuser, actress Asia Argento, has herself become embroiled in a #MeToo scandal. It has seen a backlash against her from fellow activists, her firing as a judge on Italy’s X Factor television show, and most recently an announcement by CNN that the channel will not air any of the episodes of her late boyfriend Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown show that featured her.
Argento was accused of sexual misconduct last month by former child actor Jimmy Bennett, who played the role of her son in The Heart is Deceitful Above all Things, the 2004 film she directed. Bennett claims that when he reunited with Argento in a hotel room in 2013, the actress forced herself on him against his will – he was 17 and she was 37 at the time.
Bennett was reportedly offered $380,000 to prevent him from pursuing his case by Bourdain. Argento initially claimed that she had not had sexual relations with Bennett and that Bourdain had urged her to pay him off to stop his “longstanding persecution” of her but then changed her statement to say that Bennett had assaulted her.
Bennett denied this and the storm around the actress has grown stronger. CNN this week announced that it has removed two episodes of Bourdain’s show featuring Argento from its streaming service, as well as a further episode which she directed. Bourdain committed suicide in June.
Argento’s lawyers said the actress will not pay Bennett the final $130,000 he is still owed according to the terms of the settlement. They said: “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.”