Asia Argento Claims Accuser Jimmy Bennett 'Jumped Her' in Alleged Texts About Sexual Encounter
Asia Argento allegedly claims her accuser Jimmy Bennett initiated their sexual contact in surfaced texts
In a series of newly surfaced texts allegedly between Asia Argento and a friend, the Italian actress claims her assault accuser Jimmy Bennett initiated their sexual contact and continued sending her nudes after their encounter.
The texts, published by TMZ, purport to show Argento, 42, talking about the alleged incident between her and Bennett, 22, back in 2013. The New York Times reported on Sunday that Bennett reached a $380,000 financial settlement with Argento after he accused her of sexual assault over an alleged encounter when he was 17 and she was 37.
According to the Times, Bennett claimed she performed oral sex on him and engaged in intercourse. Argento denied “any sexual relationship” with Bennett in a statement on Tuesday but acknowledged the settlement, saying Bennett “unexpectedly made an exorbitant request of money from me” and her late boyfriend Anthony Bourdain wanted to handle the matter privately.
In the texts, Argento denies knowing Bennett was a minor until he contacted her and Bourdain last fall following her public accusations against Harvey Weinstein. She also allegedly says she “felt weird” after the two had sex and pointed out that the legal age of consent is 15 in France and Italy.
“The public knows nothing, only what NYT wrote. Which is one sided,” she allegedly wrote in the text, according to TMZ. “The horny kid jumped me.”
Lawyers for Argento and Bennett could not be reached for comment.
WATCH: Asia Argento, Who Accused Harvey Weinstein of Rape, Allegedly Paid Off Male Accuser: Report
Argento’s statement from Tuesday also claimed Bourdain, who died by suicide in June at 61, was the one who paid the former actor $380,000 after he approached them with the accusations.
In the alleged texts, Argento says she has emails from Bourdain “pushing her to pay” Bennett and that she and lawyer Carrie Goldberg disagreed with the late chef. Argento allegedly claims her lawyer advised her to go public with Bennett’s accusations, but Bourdain urged her not to.
TMZ also published a photo of Argento and Bennett that appears to show them in bed together, and a letter Bennett allegedly wrote Argento after the incident. The letter is addressed to Argento from Bennett and says that he is happy the actress is in his life.
“I love you with all my heart. So glad we met again,” Bennett allegedly says in the letter, which is written on stationary from the Ritz Carlton, the hotel where the incident reportedly took place.
In her statement, Argento said she and Bennett only had a friendship, which ended last fall when he “unexpectedly made an exorbitant request of money from me” following her high-profile accusation of sexual assault against 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.
“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 said in the statement. “Anthony personally undertook to help Bennett economically, upon the condition that we would no longer suffer any further intrusions in our life.”