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Actress Asia Argento speaks at Harvard about Weinstein backlash

Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff

One of the first women to speak publicly about alleged abuse suffered at the hands of disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein said there’s been a painful backlash, but she doesn’t regret coming forward.

Actress/director Asia Argento, who last fall told New Yorker writer Ronan Farrow that she’d been sexually assaulted by Weinstein in the 1990s, spoke about the fallout Friday, telling an audience at Harvard that she’s been mocked and humiliated in her native Italy since sharing her story.

“It was worse than the rape, the revictimization,” Argento said.

In part, she blames Farrow for “misrepresenting” and “simplifying” what happened to her, which has caused some in her country to question if she may have been complicit.


“What Ronan Farrow did in his article did a huge disservice to me and to my truth by simplifying all this,” Argento said. “These words, put together, became like a necklace of doom to my life, like beads of death.”

Argento said she received death threats — and a bullet in the mail — after the story was published, sending her into a months-long spiral of depression.

“But speaking to other victims, this is what saved me,” she said. “Talking to other women. It was like a spiritual moment, in the best sense.”

As personally difficult as it’s been, Argento said she is gratified to be a part — perhaps even the catalyst — of the MeToo movement. And she’s not going to let her critics intimidate her, or prevent her from supporting other women.

“The more I speak, the more they’re angry, and the more they’re angry, the more I have to continue speaking,” Argento said. “The reason why the movement started [in the States] is because people were ready for it. The door was ajar and we gave it a little push. In Italy, it’s impossible. There are 1,000 locks we have to break to open the door.”