Asia Argento on Monday gave Rose McGowan 24 hours to retract her statement that she knew Argento slept with actor Jimmy Bennett when he was a teen.
"Dear @RoseMcGowan. It is with genuine regret that I am giving you 24 hours to retract and apologise for the horrendous lies made against me in your statement of August 27th," actress and filmmaker Argento said. "If you fail to address this libel I will have no option other than to take immediate legal action."
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McGowan's representatives have not responded to requests for comment.
According to the New York Times, McGowan said in a a lengthy statement on August 27 that her partner, model Rain Dove, had exchanged text messages with Argento, who admitted that she had been intimate with actor and musician Bennett.
In August, the New York Times reported that months after publicly accusing Harvey Weinstein of rape, Argento made a deal with Bennett, who had accused her of sexual assault.
Argento and McGowan were among the first women to accuse now-disgraced movie mogul Weinstein of sexual misconduct and have been leading figures in the #MeToo movement.
The New York Times said it had lawyers' documents showing that Bennett alleged Argento sexually assaulted him in 2013 when he was 17 and she was 37.
According to the publication, Bennett said the assault took place at a hotel in California, where the age of consent is 18. Bennett played Argento's son in the 2004 movie "The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things."
The Huffington Post reported a statement from Argento, obtained by journalist Yashar Ali, in which the actress denied ever having had a sexual relationship with Bennett. The statement reads: "I strongly deny and oppose the contents of the New York Times article dated 20 August 2018, as circulated also in national and international news. I am deeply shocked and hurt by having read news that is absolutely false. I have never had any sexual relationship with Bennett."
Argento's attorney Mark Heller later disputed the allegations from Bennett, claiming she was the one who was assaulted.
"As revealed in the text messages published by TMZ, Asia stated, 'The horny kid jumped me ... I had sex with him it felt weird.' She went on to relate that she became 'frozen' when he was on top of her and told her that she had been his sexual fantasy since he was 12 years old," Heller wrote in his statement. "Asia chose at the time not to prosecute Bennett for sexually attacking her."
Bennett's attorney, Gordon K. Sattro, said at the time in a statement to CNN that "If I were to sum up the letter from Asia and her attorney in a single word it would be 'hypocritical,' with a close second being 'non-sensical.' "
"The statement released is clearly self-serving, slanderous and offensive, not only to my client, but to victims both silent and outspoken, everywhere," he added. "She is implying that her truth is the actual truth because of her perceived position in this all too important movement and her delusional view of her own importance to it."
Rain Dove, McGowan's partner, told CNN that Argento complained to her that she was being extorted for money by Bennett and initially denied having sex with him.
Argento later contradicted herself in an alleged text exchange with Dove, which Dove shared with CNN.
"The Public knows nothing, only what the NYT wrote. Which is one sided. The shakedown letter. The horny kid jumped me...," an alleged text from Argento read.
"So it was rape? Or an attempted sexual action?" Rain Dove replied in a text viewed by CNN.
"I had sex with him it felt weird. I didn't know he was a minor until the shakedown letter," Argento allegedly wrote in response.
Dove told CNN on August 29, "the whole entire thing really just tipped at the point of yes, this person engaged with this individual when they were a minor and that is considered in California, I believe it's statutory rape."
Dove, who is gender-nonbinary and uses the pronoun they, said they called the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and shared the information they had gathered concerning an alleged relationship between Argento and Bennett.
Sattro recently told CNN that his client will be cooperating with the department.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department earlier told CNN it was trying to reach Bennett in order to "appropriately document any potential criminal allegations."
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