Yesterday, a New York Times report came out claiming that Asia Argento had agreed to pay $380,000 to a young actor named Jimmy Bennett who claimed that she had sexually assaulted him in 2013 shortly after he turned 17. The two met while filming The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things in 2004, and Bennett says they stayed in touch after that up until Argento allegedly invited him to California in 2013, gave him alcohol, and “[initiated] oral and penetrative sex with him.” According to Bennett’s attorney, his “feelings about that day were brought to the forefront recently when Ms. Argento took the spotlight as one of the many victims of Harvey Weinstein.”
Now, in a statement given to journalist Yashar Ali (via Variety), Argento has addressed Bennett’s accusations and denied that “any sexual relationship” took place between the two of them. As for the $380,000 payment, she says now that it was her then-boyfriend Anthony Bourdain’s idea. She says Bennett had come to her with a “demand for help” but “unexpectedly made an exorbitant request of money,” so Bourdain apparently agreed to pay Bennett off as a way to “deal compassionately” with him—as Bourdain reportedly thought he was “dangerous.”
Bourdain is obviously unable to give his side of the story now, so it seems like this statement from Argento is the only official response we’ll get at this point.