Asia Argento Denies Sexual Assault Claims, Says Late Boyfriend Anthony Bourdain Paid Off Accuser
Asia Argento denies sexually assaulting Jimmy Bennett in new statement claiming Anthony Bourdain was the one who paid the former actor off
Argento, 42, was accused of sexual assault by the now-22-year-old former actor last fall, as the New York Times reported on Monday. He alleged that Argento kissed him before performing oral sex on him and engaging in intercourse at the Ritz-Carlton in Marina del Rey, California when he was 17, according to the Times.
In the statement, Argento denies having any sexual contact with Bennett.
“I strongly deny and oppose the contents of the New York Times article,” she says in a statement to journalist Yashar Ali. “I am deeply shocked and hurt by having read news that is absolutely false. I have never had any sexual relationship with Bennett.”
Instead, Agento says the two only had a friendship which ended last fall when Bennett “unexpectedly made an exorbitant request of money from me” following her public accusation of sexual assault against Harvey Weinstein. The actress says Bennett reached out knowing her boyfriend Bourdain was “a man of great perceived wealth” and the late chef decided to handle the matter quietly. Bourdain was found dead by suicide in June at age 61.
“Anthony was afraid of the possible negative publicity that such person, whom he considered dangerous, could have brought upon us. We decided to deal compassionately with Bennett’s demand for help and gave it to him,” she says. “Anthony personally undertook to help Bennett economically, upon the condition that we would no longer suffer any further intrusions in our life.”
WATCH: Asia Argento, Who Accused Harvey Weinstein of Rape, Allegedly Paid Off Male Accuser: Report
The New York Times reports that in the months after her allegations against Weinstein last October, Argento reached a financial settlement with Bennett, who once played Argento’s son in 2004’s The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things. Bennet claimed that in 2013, then-37-year-old Argento sexually assaulted Bennett in a California hotel room two months after he turned 17, the report says. (In California, 18 is the age of consent.)
Bennett was reportedly paid $380,000 by Argento and Bourdain and as part of the settlement, he forfeited the copyright to a selfie from May 9, 2013 — which was among the documents the Times says it received — of Bennett and Argento lying in bed, according to the Times.