Asia Argento Denies Payment To Actor Was Over Sexual Assault

Tabitha Dunn
August 22, 2018

"Anthony was afraid of the possible negative publicity that such a person, whom he considered unsafe, could have brought on us", reads Argento's statement to reporter Yashar Ali.

According to the Times, Bennett said in a notice of intent to sue that he had sex with Argento in a California hotel in 2013.

Asia Argento denies having any type of sexual relationship with her former co-star, Jimmy Bennett, following The New York Times' report on Sunday that she paid off Bennett after he accused her of sexual assault.

She goes on to state that Bennett went after her because of her relationship with Anthony Bourdain, a 'man of great perceived wealth'. Argento added that Bourdain wanted to handle the matter privately and "personally undertook to help Bennett economically".

"Anthony was afraid of the possibly negative publicity that such person, whom he considered risky, could have brought upon us", Argento's statement continued. The documents include a selfie dated May 9, 2013, of Argento, who was 37 at the time, lying in bed with Bennett, who was 10 months shy of being 18, the age of consent in California.

Ben Brafman, a lawyer for Mr Weinstein, said the development revealed "a stunning level of hypocrisy by Asia Argento".

McGowan has gained stature as a victims' advocate in the year since the Weinstein allegations first broke in the New York Times and New Yorker last October.

The Times story prompted leaders of the #MeToo movement to respond, since Argento has been a figurehead of the movement.

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At the time Argento was romantically involved with celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain, who killed himself in June. "After he told me I had been his sexual fantasy since he was 12". Argento said it was Bourdain's idea to pay Bennett the hush money. Three people familiar with the case said the documents were authentic.

A spokesperson for the LA County Sheriff's Department said, however, the agency had "no open investigation".

Argento gave him alcohol prior to the alleged assault, which allegedly included oral sex and intercourse, he said.

Argento, seen at left alongside Cannes Film Festival jury member Ava Duvernay, spoke out against Weinstein during the closing ceremony of this year's event.

Weinstein has pleaded not guilty to six felony counts in NY, including first-degree rape; none are related to Argento.

Tarana Burke, the activist who founded #MeToo, weighed in as well, writing in a series of tweets that the movement is "for all of us, including these courageous young men who are now coming forward".

Argento said she had been "linked to [Bennett] during several years by friendship only", which ended when he suddenly demanded money from her as her public profile grew during the investigation into Weinstein.

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