Asia Argento denies sexual relations with actor she paid off
- Author: Michelle Webb Aug 22, 2018,
Aug 22, 2018, 23:45
On Sunday, the New York Times published a report claiming that the Italian actress had agreed to pay Jimmy Bennett, her co-star in 2004 movie The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things, $380,000 after he claimed she sexually assaulted him in a California hotel room in 2013, when he was 17 and she was 37.
In a statement released via her legal team, Argento stated the story is "absolutely false" and that she "never had any sexual relationship with Bennett".
Argento's statement said that her late boyfriend, Anthony Bourdain, considered her accuser "dangerous" but decided Bennett's need for money was worthy of "compassion".
Argento is one of the original 13 women included in the October 2017 New Yorker report about Harvey Weinstein's alleged sexual harassment and assaults that dated back decades, which he has repeatedly denied.
The actress strongly denied the contents of the article, but admitted a payment was made.
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When asked how she didn't know his age since they had previously worked together, the actress purportedly wrote that the age of consent is 15 in France and her native Italy (it is 14), as opposed to 18 in California.
The screenshots also state that Bourdain paid a private investigator to work up a file on Bennett, and that Argento has evidence that Bennett continuously sent her advances after the alleged incident. Nor should anyone forget that even if Argento is guilty of sexual assault herself, it does not make Harvey Weinstein - or any of the numerous other powerful men in the entertainment industry guilty of predatory behaviour - less guilty.
Argento acknowledged in her statement that she was "linked" to Bennett by "friendship only". Child sexual assault is a heinous crime and is against all that I and the MeToo movement stands for. The New York Times claims Argento settled the notice of intent to sue by Bennett.
"If I lose my job I will move to Africa or the Amazon forest", she allegedly wrote, per TMZ's messages. "Anthony was afraid of the possibly negative publicity that such person, whom he considered risky, could have brought upon us".
On Monday police in California said that Argento was not now under active investigation over the Times report but that "enquiries will be made". Anthony was afraid of the possible negative publicity that such a person, whom he considered unsafe, could have brought upon us", she claimed, further maintaining that, "We chose to deal compassionately with Bennett's demand for help and give it to him.
Neither Bennett or Argento have responded to TooFab's request for comment since the story broke.