Actress Asia Argento, a prominent Harvey Weinstein accuser, has provided a statement to multiple media outlets denying that she sexually assaulted a minor. A New York Times report previously indicated that she paid $380,000 to the young man in question.
In legal documents that were leaked to the Times, Jimmy Bennett alleged that he and Argento had sex at a hotel when she was 37 and he was 17, beneath the age of consent in California. As a child, Bennett once played Argento’s son in a film.
Bennett “unexpectedly made an exorbitant request of money from me,” Argento wrote. She said the decision to pay Bennett was made by her late partner, Anthony Bourdain, to avoid “possible negative publicity.”
“We decided to deal compassionately with Bennett’s demand for help and give it to him,” she wrote. “Anthony personally undertook to help Bennett economically, upon the condition that we would no longer suffer any further intrusions in our life.”
Meanwhile, the celebrity gossip site TMZ has published text messages it claims were sent from Argento to a friend, which appear to contradict the account Argento sent journalists. The alleged messages say the two had sex, which Bennett initiated, and that Argento didn’t know he was a minor at the time.
NPR has repeatedly reached out to representatives of Argento and Bennett, with no response.
As we have previously reported, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the allegations.Share