The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Hollywood Boy Toy Shakedown Racket

Posted on | August 24, 2018 | Comments Off on Hollywood Boy Toy Shakedown Racket

“Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket.”
Eric Hoffer, The Temper of Our Time, 1967

Look, I’m only going to say this once, so pay attention: No sane person believes that a 17-year-old boy is so traumatized by having sex with a 37-year-old woman that he deserves $380,000 in hush money.

What shocked me about the Asia Argento-Jimmy Bennett revelations was not that Argento is a kinky freak — Hollywood is full of kinky freaks — but that the age of consent in California is 18. In most of the United States, the age of consent is 16, but apparently it’s been 18 in California for more than a century:

The age of consent in California has been 18 since 1913. Some media sources reported that the age of consent in California in the 1970s was 14 or 16 but in fact it was and has been 18.
In the 1990s Governor of California Pete Wilson stated that there was a trend of men in their mid-to-late 20s having sex with and impregnating teenage girls around 14 years of age and that the statutory rape laws needed to be enforced to prevent this.
In 2012 Kristin Olsen, a Republican member of the State Assembly of California, sponsored a bill that criminalizes sexual relations between K-12 teachers and students, including students over 18, as well as sexual text messages and other communications aimed at seducing a student. The bill was proposed after a 41-year-old teacher and 18-year-old high school student publicly announced that they were in a relationship. The bill was killed in committee by Democratic lawmakers concerned about the constitutionality of the proposed legislation.

So says Wikipedia, at any rate, and the fact that teachers unions are a powerful influence in the Democrat Party probably explains why the Olsen bill never made it out of committee. But I digress . . .

A lot of people are high-fiving each other because Asia Argento was one of Harvey Weinstein’s accusers. OK, fine, she’s a kinky freak and a hypocrite, and the fact that Bennett once played Argento’s son in a movie makes it a little extra creepy, but still: $380,000?

The claim states Bennett was a little over 17 years old at the time of the alleged assault, which took place in a California hotel room in 2013 when Argento was 37. . . .
The lawyer for Argento who handled the settlement, Carrie Goldberg, in the documents described the money as “helping Mr. Bennett.”
“We hope nothing like this ever happens to you again,” Goldberg wrote. “You are a powerful and inspiring creator and it is a miserable condition of life that you live among s—-y individuals who’ve preyed on both your strengths and your weaknesses.”
According to the documents, Bennett’s initial notice of intent to sue was for $3.5 million in damages for the intentional infliction of emotional distress, lost wages, assault and battery.

What the heck is this? Can anyone explain how a hook-up in a hotel room inflicts “emotional distress” on a 17-year-old boy? Because I distinctly remember being a 17-year-old boy, and I was out for all the “emotional distress” I could get. My problem at 17 — a quite common problem in the Bible Belt back in the day — was that my adolescent lust was condemned as sin by the prevailing social standards, which tended to limit one’s opportunities for fornication. Far be it from me, as a Christian and a father of six, to advocate or endorse sin, but my religious beliefs do not require me to pretend that I don’t know what teenage boys are like.

You may be able to convince some fools that Jimmy Bennett was a victim of “emotional distress,” but I am not one of those fools.

No, sir, this was blackmail. Isn’t extortion a crime in California?

It was morally wrong, and a crime under California law, for Asia Argento to have sex with Jimmy Bennett, but it was also wrong — and arguably criminal — for him to threaten her with a $3.5 million lawsuit in what was quite plainly a shakedown racket: “Pay me, or I’ll tell.”

Some of my conservative friends are enjoying Asia Argento’s embarrassment because they figure that turnabout is fair play, that after years of “rape culture” hysteria on university campuses and the attendant evisceration of due-process protections, it’s about time a woman should suffer the painful consequences of the presumed-guilty standard that feminism has foisted upon us. As tempting as it may be to enjoy the schadenfreude of this moment, however, do we really want to applaud this kind “social justice”? Isn’t the real lesson here about the way a culture of victimhood creates incentives for spurious accusations?

Like so many of the campus sexual-assault cases we’ve seen in recent years, the Argento-Bennett scandal is a “he-said, she-said” story:

In a series of newly surfaced texts allegedly between Asia Argento and a friend, the Italian actress claims her assault accuser Jimmy Bennett initiated their sexual contact and continued sending her nudes after their encounter.
The texts, published by TMZ, purport to show Argento, 42, talking about the alleged incident between her and Bennett, 22, back in 2013. . . .
In the texts, Argento denies knowing Bennett was a minor until he contacted her and Bourdain last fall following her public accusations against Harvey Weinstein. She also allegedly says she “felt weird” after the two had sex and pointed out that the legal age of consent is 15 in France and Italy.
“The public knows nothing, only what NYT wrote. Which is one sided,” she allegedly wrote in the text, according to TMZ. “The horny kid jumped me.”

My dear readers, I believe her!

As I say, I remember being a 17-year-old boy, and if Argento said Bennett “jumped” her in that hotel room, this seems entirely plausible to me.

She could have accused him of rape, but she didn’t, which I interpret as evidence that she enjoyed being “jumped” by a teenage boy, but that is immaterial to the legal issues involved. We do not know what actually happened in that hotel room, but if Jimmy Bennett was a victim — suffering “emotional distress” from whatever it was that happened — why didn’t he go straight to the police with his accusation? Why did he wait four years, and then threaten her with a lawsuit, rather than to report this alleged crime to the police? Because it was a shakedown, that’s why.

Once you pay the Dane-geld, you’ll never get rid of the Dane. Once feminism created a culture in which victimhood was celebrated and rewarded, it was inevitable that claims of victimhood would proliferate. When everybody in the workplace is required to be careful what they say, lest they be accused of “harassment” or “discrimination,” and when it seems every college girl in the country is claiming to be a rape victim, people become cynical about these claims. And this cynicism gives rise to the kind of situation where Jimmy Bennett, watching Asia Argento being praised for her courage in calling out Harvey Weinstein, decides to call a lawyer and threaten Argento with a $3.5 million lawsuit.

This business of destroying people’s reputations for profit — or to advance a political cause — has gotten out of control. It has fostered a climate of sexual paranoia, where no college boy can ever be sure that tonight’s hook-up won’t become tomorrow’s Title IX complaint.

It’s a hustle, a scam, a racket. Certainly, I am not the kind of fool who believes that those who claim to be pursuing “social justice” are never motivated by factors as simple as revenge and greed. Just like “Mattress Girl” at Columbia University, who tried to ruin her ex-boyfriend’s life because he didn’t want to be more than “friends with benefits,” so do many of these #MeToo allegations seem to be more about a sadistic desire for revenge than “social justice.” When the Nietzschean “will to power” derives from victimhood, as Ed Driscoll has observed, we should be skeptical of anyone who claims, as does Jimmy Bennett, that he has suffered “emotional distress,” when common sense tells us otherwise.

While we’re at it, can we please stop pretending that the legislative intent of age-of-consent laws is to protect teenage boys from older women? As a conservative, I don’t believe in “gender equality,” so it is not hypocritical for me to defend a double standard. Men and women are different, and we are engaged in a damaging distortion of reality when we compel people to pretend otherwise. While the law in California may declare that Jimmy Bennett is the victim of a crime, common sense declares that he was quite happy to be “victimized” by Asia Argento. Only later — maybe because she wasn’t interested in any future hookups with her one-time boy toy, and maybe because his acting career wasn’t very successful — did Bennett decide he could cash in by threatening her with a lawsuit.

Perhaps I should buy my 17-year-old son a ticket to L.A. My son’s kind of cute, and maybe he could lure a 30-something actress into a sordid affair, snap a couple of selfies in her hotel room, then claim “emotional distress” and shake her down for a few hundred thousand dollars.

But that would be wrong. Not only would it be sinful, it would also be dishonorable. Decent people don’t engage in blackmail, nor do they seek publicity for their sexual escapades, especially by such dishonest means as Jimmy Bennett’s bogus claim of victimhood. While I suppose I should be happy that Asia Argento has been caught up in her own #MeToo scandal, my pleasure is diminished by the knowledge that many others caught in similar situations have not had the luxury of being able to buy their way out of prison with a $380,000 settlement. At least now we’ve established the market value for boy-toy blackmail, however, so if any teenage boys want to shake down a cougar, they know the going rate.



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