Actress Asia Argento, whose role as a #MeToo activist is under fire following the revelation that she has been dealing with sexual assault allegations against her, linked her former boyfriend, Anthony Bourdain, to a payoff that was apparently supposed to settle the case.
Argento also denied the allegations that she had a sexual relationship with actor Jimmy Bennett when he was 17, which are at the center of the controversy swirling around Argento this week.
Argento, who was one of the first women in the film industry to publicly accuse Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault, saw her credibility take a hit Sunday when The New York Times broke the story that she had “quietly arranged to pay $380,000 to her own accuser: Jimmy Bennett, a young actor and rock musician who said she had sexually assaulted him in a California hotel room years earlier, when he was only two months past his 17th birthday. She was 37. The age of consent in California is 18.”
Following the Times article, Argento provided a statement, posted on Twitter by reporter Yashar Ali, saying, “I strongly deny and oppose the contents of the New York Times article dated 20 August 2018.” She adds: “I have never had any sexual relationship with Bennett.”
Argento suggests in the statement that it was Bourdain’s idea to pay off Bennett, to whom Argento says she was linked “by friendship only.” She further suggests that it was Bourdain who paid to make Bennett’s allegations go away.
“Anthony was afraid of the possible negative publicity that such person, whom he considered dangerous, could have brought upon us,” she writes, adding: “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 in our life.”
You can click here to read Argento’s full statement.