The actress and director issued a legal threat to her ex-pal on Monday, September 17, requesting McGowan retract a statement alleging she had seen text messages sent to her partner Rain Dove, in which Argento confessed to a sexual encounter with the ex-child star.
She issued the "Grindhouse" actress with a 24 hour deadline to withdraw the allegation - and in the absence of a reply, has now instructed lawyers at top London firm Mishcon de Reya to begin legal proceedings.
"To @rosemcgowan," the 42-year-old tweeted on Tuesday. "The 24hr deadline given to retract your recent false statements about me has now passed. I must inform you & @raindovemodel that I've instructed Mishcon de Reya to seek substantial damages for deception, fraud, coercion and libel. You will hear from them shortly."
To @rosemcgowan. The 24hr deadline given to retract your recent false statements about me has now passed. I must inform you & @raindovemodel that I’ve instructed Mishcon de Reya to seek substantial damages for deception, fraud, coercion and libel. You will hear from them shortly.— Asia Argento (@AsiaArgento) September 18, 2018
The accusation, that Argento slept with Bennett, who starred in her 2004 film "The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things", first surfaced in a New York Times report last month, which revealed her late boyfriend, the TV chef Anthony Bourdain had agreed a $380,000 (£296,000) settlement with the 22-year-old. She initially denied any encounter had taken place but has now accused the actor of "sexually attacking" her.
After the Italian filmmaker's outright denial, McGowan, who grew close to Argento due to their involvement in the #MeToo anti-sexual harassment campaign, issued a statement alleging her former friend had admitted to having sex with Bennett in a text to Dove. She also claimed Argento had told her lover she had been receiving unsolicited explicit pictures from him since he was aged 12.
Dove has passed the alleged texts onto the police, who are investigating as at 17, Bennett was legally a minor at the time of the alleged sexual encounter in a hotel in Marina del Rey, California in May 2013.
Both Argento and McGowan claim they were raped by Harvey Weinstein - allegations the disgraced movie mogul has denied.