Asia Argento says Anthony Bourdain payed off accuser

2018-08-22 08:10
 

New York — Two days after a report detailed an accusation of sexual assault against #MeToo activist Asia Argento, the Italian actress and filmmaker said she never had a sexual relationship with the young actor whom she agreed to pay $380 000 in a settlement.

Argento, who has alleged that film producer Harvey Weinstein raped her, said in a statement on Tuesday that she was linked "in friendship only" to Jimmy Bennett, a now 22-year-old Los Angeles actor who filed a legal notice of intent to sue Argento. 

As detailed in a New York Times story published on Sunday, Bennett claimed Argento, then 37, sexually assaulted him when he was 17 in a California hotel room in 2013. As a child actor, Bennett played Argento's son in the 2004 film The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things.

Argento said on Tuesday that the $380 000 payment was undertaken by her late boyfriend Anthony Bourdain, the television star chef.

"Bennett knew my boyfriend, Anthony Bourdain, was a man of great perceived wealth and had his own reputation as a beloved public figure to protect," said Argento. "Anthony personally undertook to help Bennett economically, upon the condition that we would no longer suffer any further intrusions in our life."

Bourdain killed himself in France in June. He has been a staunch supporter of Argento following her allegations against Weinstein.

A lawyer for Bennett didn't immediately comment on Tuesday. But in a statement on Monday, Gordon K. Sattro said: "At this time, our client, Jimmy Bennett, does not wish to comment on the documents or the events discussed in the New York Times article yesterday evening.

While we realise that the news cycle demands an immediate response, many times, people need more than a few minutes or hours to respond. We are asking that you give our client some time and space. Jimmy is going to take the next 24 hours, or longer, to prepare his response."

Bennett's notice of intent sought $3.5m in damages, according to the Times report.

Los Angeles County sheriff's Capt. Darren Harris on Monday said investigators were looking into the alleged incident. No police report was filed at the time, Harris said.

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