Actress and #MeToo campaign figurehead Asia Argento has denied having any sexual interactions with actor Jimmy Bennett, days after the New York Times reported she paid him USD $380,000 to settle his accusation of sexual assault out of court.
In a statement, Argento refuted Bennett’s claim that they had sex in 2013 when she was 37 and he was 17, saying she was “deeply shocked and hurt by having read news that is absolutely false.
“I have never had any sexual relationship with Bennett.”
Bennett notified Argento of his intention to sue after she publicly accused disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein of raping her in 1997. Argento, along with scores of other Weinstein accusers, became a prominent voice in the campaign to hold powerful sexual abusers accountable.
In the legal documents, seen by The New York Times and authenticated by sources with knowledge of the issue, Bennett claimed the alleged incident traumatised him and impacted his career.
But in her own new statement, Argento said she was “linked to him during several years by friendship only” and made the payment as Bennett was “undergoing severe economic problems”.
She also said the payment was facilitated by her late boyfriend Anthony Bourdain, who was concerned about the “dangerous” Bennett.
“Anthony was afraid of the possible negative publicity that such [a] person, whom he considered dangerous, could have brought upon us,” she said.
“We decided to deal compassionately with Bennett’s demand for help and give it to him.”
The statement ends with the insinuation Argento may seek her own legal action against Bennett.
You an read the full statement below:
I just received this statement from @AsiaArgento in response to the NYT story published late Sunday evening. pic.twitter.com/jAOo7TAULX
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) August 21, 2018
This article discusses sexual assault & harassment. If you would like to talk to a counsellor about rape, sexual assault or domestic violence, give the people over at 1800 RESPECT a call on 1800 737 732.