Asia Argento announces she is following through on her threat of legal action towards Rose McGowan

By Ale Russian
September 18, 2018 11:08 AM
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Jason Bahr/Getty; ANGELA WEISS/AFP/Getty

Asia Argento is following through on her threat of legal action towards Rose McGowan.

Argento, 42 — who has been accused of sexually assaulting an underage boy — tweeted on Monday demanding McGowan to apologize or face legal action for a statement she released indicating that Argento had lied to her about the sexual assault claim. The Italian actress gave McGowan, 45, and her model girlfriend Rain Dove 24 hours to apologize.

Early Tuesday morning, Argento tweeted, informing McGowan that her time was up.

“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,” the tweet read.

Neither McGowan nor Argento immediately responded to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

McGowan was one of Argento’s closest allies as the #MeToo movement grew to prominence after both women accused Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault. But McGowan appeared to denounce the actress in August after a bombshell report by The New York Times alleged that Argento had paid $380,000 to silence a young actor who accused the Italian star of sexual assault.

Jimmy Bennett — now 22 — claimed that Argento sexually assaulted him in a California hotel room two months after he turned 17. (In California, 18 is the age of consent.)

Argento denied Bennett’s allegations, but McGowan said she was in distress over the report. “I got to know Asia Argento ten months ago,” McGowan wrote on Twitter. “Our commonality is the shared pain of being assaulted by Harvey Weinstein. My heart is broken. I will continue my work on behalf of victims everywhere.”

McGowan later released a statement where she claimed Argento had confessed to sleeping with Bennett in texts sent to Rain Dove. McGowan also alleged Argento “had stated that she’d been receiving unsolicited nudes of Jimmy since he had been 12.”

Dove later went to the police, with McGowan’s support.

“You were my friend. I loved you. You’ve spent and risked a lot to stand with the MeToo movement,” McGowan wrote in her statement. “I really hope you find your way through this process to rehabilitation and betterment. Anyone can be better — I hope you can be, too.”

Asia Argento and Rose McGowan
ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/Getty Images

Earlier this month, Argento responded to McGowan’s statement on Twitter, saying, “It is a shame @rosemcgowan is not prepared to accept when she is wrong … Rose’s statement continues to make false claims.”

In the tweet, Argento also referenced Dove, claiming that the model was willing to acknowledge making a mistake when spreading information about the Italian star’s relationship with Bennett. Argento attached a screenshot of a tweet that she claimed Dove had since deleted. The image showed Dove allegedly apologizing for misinterpreting texts that the model had previously submitted to the police as part of Bennett’s case against Argento.

WATCH: Asia Argento Accuser Jimmy Bennett Breaks Silence on Sexual Assault Allegations: ‘I Was Ashamed’

Bennett, who played Argento’s son in 2004’s The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things, previously issued a statement to PEOPLE through his lawyer Gordon K. Sattro.

“I did not initially speak out about my story because I chose to handle it in private with the person who wronged me,” the statement said. “My trauma resurfaced as she came out as a victim herself. I have not made a public statement in the past days and hours because I was ashamed and afraid to be part of the public narrative. I was underage when the event took place, and I tried to seek justice in a way that made sense to me at the time because I was not ready to deal with the ramifications of my story becoming public.”

Argento has repeatedly maintained her innocence. She said in a previous statement, “I am deeply shocked and hurt by having read news that is absolutely false. I have never had any sexual relationship with Bennett.”