Asia Argento has denied claims by actor Jimmy Bennett that she sexually assaulted him when she was 37 and he was 17.
In a statement, Argento responded to the allegations made in a New York Times article this week, insisting she has “never had any sexual relationship with Bennett.”
“I am deeply shocked and hurt by having read news that is absolutely false.”
Argento, 42, claims Bennett, who played her son in a film when he was seven, took advantage of her involvement in the Me Too movement to essentially bribe her. She said her boyfriend, the late Anthony Bourdain, paid Bennett the money he requested to avoid negative publicity and deal with the now 22-year-old “compassionately”.
Bennett “unexpectedly made an exorbitant request of money from me” and knew Bourdain “was a man of great perceived wealth and had his own reputation as a beloved public figure to protect,” Argento said.
“Anthony was afraid of the possible negative publicity that such [a] person, whom he considered dangerous, could have brought upon us” she said, so he “personally undertook to help Bennett economically, under the condition that we would no longer suffer any further intrusions in our life.”
The amount was US $380,000.
According to the New York Times story, Bennett claimed he and Argento had sex in a California hotel room in May 2013, when he was 17. The age of consent in California is 18. He also claims Argento plied him with alcohol, and that after the encounter he was left feeling “confused, mortified and disgusted.”
In response to the article, Los Angeles officials confirmed they would investigate the allegations.
Asia started dating Parts Unknown host Bourdain sometime in 2016 after she appeared on an episode his show. He sadly took his own life in June at the age of 61.