Italian actor and filmmaker Asia Argento has broken her silence over allegations she paid off a former child actor who accused her of sexual assault, denying any sexual relationship and asserting that her late partner Anthony Bourdain arranged the payment to avoid negative publicity.
Argento released a statement to journalist Yashar Ali, who posted it on Twitter on Tuesday morning (August 21).
“I strongly deny and oppose the contents of the New York Times article dated 20 August 2018, as circulated also in national and international news,” said Argento in the statement.
“I am deeply shocked and hurt by having read news that is absolutely false. I have never had any sexual relationship with Bennett.
“I was linked to him during several years by friendship only, which ended when, subsequent to my exposure in the Weinstein case, Bennett – who was then undergoing severe economic problems and who had previously undertaken legal actions against his own family requesting millions in damages – unexpectedly made an exorbitant request from me. Bennett knew my boyfriend, Anthony Bourdain, was a man of perceived wealth and had his own reputation as a beloved public figure to protect.
“Anthony insisted the matter be handled privately and this was also what Bennett wanted. 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 give it to him. Anthony personally undertook to help Bennett economically, upon the condition that we would no longer suffer any further intrusions on our life.
“This is, therefore, the umpteenth development of a sequence of events that brings me great sadness and that constitute a long-standing persecution. I have therefore no other choice but to oppose such false allegations and will assume in the short term all necessary initiatives for my protection before all competent venues.”
On Sunday The New York Times published a reported in which it was claimed Argento paid $380,000 to settle an allegation by child actor and musician Jimmy Bennett that she sexually assaulted him at a Los Angeles hotel in 2013 when he would have been 17 – below California’s legal age of consent.
The development sparked a typically feisty statement from Harvey Weinstein’s attorney Ben Brafman, who lambasted what he referred to as the “duplicity” of Argento for allegedly paying off Bennett at the same time as she accusing Weinstein of rape. Weinstein has denied all non-consensual sex with any woman.