Asia Argento Fires Back After Catherine Breillat Defends Harvey Weinstein

Asia Argento and Anthony Bourdain attend the 2017 Creative Arts Emmy Awards - Getty-H 2018
Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

The Italian actress and director responded to an interview given by the French filmmaker in which Breillat criticized the #MeToo and French #BalanceTonPorc movements.

Italian director and actress Asia Argento has fired back after French filmmaker Catherine Breillat gave a scathing interview on the podcast Murmur defending disgraced film mogul Harvey Weinstein and criticizing the #MeToo and French #BalanceTonPorc ("Denounce your pig") movements, as well as personally attacking Weinstein victims, including Argento. 

Argento responded to the helmer of Fat Girl and Bluebeard, calling her out for her collaboration with David Hamilton, the late British fashion photographer who was accused by multiple women of raping them when they were prepubescents. French TV host Flavie Flament in 2016 accused Hamilton of raping her when she was just 13 and he was over 50. 

Hamilton built his career as a photographer of nude adolescent girls, many of which were later deemed to fit the definition of illegal material. He described his work as an "obsession with purity." His 1977 film Bilitis, which Breillat co-wrote, details the sexual pursuits of a teenage schoolgirl who is enthralled by a married couple. 

One week after the accusations of Flament and three other models became public, Hamilton was found dead by asphyxiation with a plastic bag over his head. Flament released a statement reading: "By his cowardice [Hamilton] condemns us again to silence and the inability to see him convicted. The horror of this news will never wipe out that of our sleepless nights." 

Argento described the film as one that glorifies "child sex for rapist pedophile photographer David Hamilton," and says that Breillat has "no place in judging me." 

"What does Catherine Breillat have to say about her former collaborator?," asked Argento. "Will she be so vocal and eager to defend him and denounce his accusers as she does with Weinstein?"

Argento also called out women who call themselves feminists but continue to attack victims of sexual assault. Several women in both France and Italy have failed to voice their support of the #MeToo movement, but have publicly criticized accusers who have come forward with their stories. 

Argento also detailed the abusive set environment she experienced when working with Breillat on The Last Mistress, saying the filmmaker took pleasure in humiliating the actors and crew, threatened her when she missed work because of an illness that required hospitalization and encouraged her to choke another actor to the point where he almost fainted.

"Catherine Breillat is the most sadistic and downright evil director I've ever worked with," tweeted Argento.

Fellow Weinstein accusers Annabella Sciorra and Mira Sorvino tweeted their support of Argento. "When women colleagues lash out at those of use who had the courage to denounce monsters, it is the worst kind of betrayal," wrote Sorvino. "I applaud you for unmasking the kind of behavior we used to think we had to endure silently, because [it] was all part of film life."

While the Murmur podcast has since pulled the episode, Indiewire still has an article up summarizing the interview. Argento called for the website to also remove the blog, asking that it also refuse to give a platform to someone who "slut-shames and defames a rape victim."