The Italian actress announced Tuesday on Twitter that she will sue her former friend for “deception, fraud, coercion, and libel” and seek “substantial damages” after McGowan ignored Argento’s deadline for a public apology. Argento is upset about a statement McGowan made on Aug. 27 about making a monetary payoff to former child star Jimmy Bennett, who claimed Argento sexually assaulted him in a California hotel room in 2013.
To @rosemcgowan. The 24hr deadline given to retract your recent false statements about me has now passed. I must inform you & @raindovemodel that I’ve instructed Mishcon de Reya to seek substantial damages for deception, fraud, coercion and libel. You will hear from them shortly.
— Asia Argento (@AsiaArgento) September 18, 2018
A spokesperson for Argento’s NYC-based law firm confirmed to Yahoo Entertainment that Argento’s attorneys have “recently been instructed on this matter.” However, they “have nothing further to add at this time.”
After Argento tweeted about going forward with the lawsuit, McGowan’s partner, androgynous model Rain Dove, spoke out, also on Twitter, to say that McGowan wasn’t at fault. Dove claimed responsibility for “the misinterpretation” and for inaccurately informing McGowan of the details, which led her to speak out publicly and spreading the misinformation. “Rose wsn’t slanderous in the st8ment,” Dove insisted. “It was an accur8 1 based on the knowledge I gave. I apologized 4 the mistake. I own it.”
@AsiaArgento I’m responsible 4 the misinterpretation. I informed Rose inaccur8ly as a result & they advised appropri8ly. Rose wsn’t slanderous in the st8ment- it was an accur8 1 based on the knowledge I gave. I apologized 4 the mistake. I own it. I don’t regret tking action. 1/3
— Rain Dove (@raindovemodel) September 18, 2018
Dove also noted in another tweet in the thread that they don’t regret taking action against Argento by going to the police with texts she allegedly sent confirming she had sex with Bennett and paid him off when he threatened to go public. Prior to that, Argento had publicly denied having any sexual relationship with Bennett, who was under the age of consent in California, which is 18, when they slept together.
Dove emphasized the bottom line of the situation: “Sexual engagement did occur w/ a minor by a much older person in a position of power.”
Argento’s issue with McGowan’s Aug. 27 lengthy statement — and the reason behind this whole dramatic lawsuit — is actually a really tiny part of it. The Brave author claimed in the 1,000-plus-word statement that Argento had been getting “unsolicited nudes of Jimmy since he had been 12.” Dove later clarified that a mistake was made while interpreting Argento’s texts. Bennett was actually 17 when the photos were sent.
On Sept. 7, Argento first demanded that McGowan change her statement, related to the nude photos, and “accept when she is wrong.”
It is a shame that @rosemcgowan is not prepared to accept when she is wrong. @raindovemodel accepted she was wrong, but her tweet has been deleted. Rose's statement continues to make false claims. pic.twitter.com/OcHyJp6Rum
— Asia Argento (@AsiaArgento) September 7, 2018
After McGowan apparently ignored her, Argento took to Twitter on Monday giving her 24 hours to comply. That was ignored as well.
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. If you fail to address this libel I will have no option other than to take immediate legal action.
— Asia Argento (@AsiaArgento) September 17, 2018
A libel lawsuit against McGowan for that seems like an unusual thing to get hung up on when Argento has much bigger problems. There’s an investigation into whether Argento will face criminal charges for what happened with Bennett. Meanwhile, Bennett is taking action to get Argento to give him the remainder of the agreed payout (which he says will go to charity). And Argento was fired from X Factor Italy for having sex with a teenager.
McGowan and Argento have known each other for at least 15 years but grew closer in the past year as allegations against disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein were made public. Both women accused him of rape and have been very vocal supporters of #MeToo.
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