What to Know
- Asia Argento accused disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein of raping her at the Cannes Film Festival in 1997
- At the festival's closing ceremony this year, she said he would "never be welcomed here ever again."
- She added that there are more who "still have to be held accountable for their conduct against women"
Asia Argento, the Italian actress and director who accused disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault, delivered a blistering speech at the closing ceremony of the Cannes Film Festival Saturday, vowing that justice will be served for all sexual predators.
Argento, who raised a fist high on the red carpet, invoking a gesture that has become a striking symbol of the #MeToo movement, has said Weinstein raped her at the Cannes Film Festival in 1997. And she did not let her Cannes colleagues forget it when speaking on stage.
"I was raped by Harvey Weinstein here at Cannes. I was 21-years-old. This festival was his hunting ground," Argento said. "I want to make a prediction: Harvey Weinstein will never be welcomed here ever again."
Argento's account was first published in the Oct. 2017 New Yorker article that uncovered Weinstein's alleged history of harassment and assault. Weinstein has denied all accusations of non-consensual sex.
"And even tonight, sitting among you, there are those who still have to be held accountable for their conduct against women for behavior that does not belong in this industry," Argento said.
Drawing applause from the crowd, she added: "You know who you are. But more importantly, we know who you are. And we're not going to allow you to get away with it any longer."
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The speech came a week after 82 women filmmakers stood together at the festival to denounce gender inequality in the industry.
Filomena Cusano, Weinstein’s attorney in Italy, said she was at the festival when Argento spoke and the allegations “are completely false.”
“Mr. Weinstein and Ms. Argento had a consensual relationship; Ms. Argento then starred in Mr. Weinstein’s film B. Monkey in 1998, in which Argento was excellent, and she herself said was a fantastic role for her,” Cusano said in a statement to NBC News.
“After that, she wrote a script for Mr. Weinstein about Italian director Vittorio De Sica that he wishes could have been produced. This is clearly a painful moment for Ms. Argento, but it is a false narrative. Harvey has only respect for her and wishes her well,” Cusano added.
In response to the growing accusations of sexual misconduct in the film industry, Cannes organizers set up a telephone hotline this year for victims.