Harvey Weinstein: Asia Argento leaves Italy after public condemns her for speaking out about assault

Lydia Smith
Asia Argento said she would return to Italy 'when things improve to fight alongside all the other women': Rex Features

Actress and director Asia Argento has said she was forced to leave her native Italy after speaking out about an alleged sexual assault at the hands of Harvey Weinstein.

The 42-year-old said she had temporarily moved to the German capital of Berlin to escape the “climate of tension” in her homeland.

One of the first of more than 50 women to speak out about Weinstein, Ms Argento told the New Yorker magazine that he sexually assaulted her in a hotel room 20 years ago, when she was 21.

But she was subsequently criticised by some sections of the Italian media for not coming forward sooner about the alleged assaults, despite hesitation being common among survivors for fear of reprisals, among other reasons.

Conservative newspaper Libero published an op-ed by Renato Farina, with the headline: “First they give it away, then they whine and pretend to repent.”

While Argento was giving an interview about the assault accusations, journalist Mario Adinolfi tweeted the actress was attempting to “justify high-society prostitution”.

The politician and art critic Vittorio Sgarbi, a friend of Ms Argento’s former partner, said: “I have the feeling that he was actually assaulted by her.”

After moving to Germany, Argento told Rai 3’s Cartabianca show: “Italy is far behind the rest of the world in its view of women."

She said: “I don’t see what I can do there - I’ll come back when things improve to fight alongside all the other women... I didn't have to courage to speak until now because you see what happened, 20 years after the attack?“

Ms Argento later posted on Twitter that she has sued for defamation, although she did not spe

Other women who have come forward with alleged stories of sexual assault and rape have spoken out against the treatment of Ms Argento.

Jessica Chastain tweeted she was “disturbed” by the victim-blaming and added Ms Argento should be “acknowledged for starting this conversation & removing Harvey from power.”

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