Asia Argento has denied that she ever had a sexual relationship with an underage male actor in response to a New York Times report published on August 20 which noted that the Italian actress was accused of sexual misconduct and her accuser was paid off to stay quiet regarding his charges.
In a story posted by The Hollywood Reporter, Argento penned a statement to journalist Yashar Ali claiming that the allegations against her were false and that in fact, it was her late boyfriend, chef Anthony Bourdain who paid Bennett off.
The initial New York Times report noted that Argento, one of the first to publicly accuse Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault, was accused of secretly paying off Bennett.
In her statement, Argento claims the assault never happened. However, she did say a payment was made to Bennett by Bourdain, so Bennett would stop harassing the couple.
“I am deeply shocked and hurt having read the news that is absolutely false,” she said in a statement obtained by journalist Yashar Ali.
She then explained her side of the situation regarding the alleged payoff to Bennett.
“Anthony insisted the matter be handled privately and this was also what Bennett wanted. Anthony was afraid of the possible negative publicity that such person, whom he considered dangerous, could have brought upon us.
— Yashar Ali ???? (@yashar) August 21, 2018
“We decided to deal compassionately with Bennett’s demand for help and give it to him. Anthony personally undertook to help Bennett economically, upon the condition that we would no longer suffer any further intrusions in our life,” the actress stated.
“This is, therefore, the umpteenth development of a sequence of events that brings me great sadness and constitutes a longstanding persecution. I have therefore no other choice but to oppose such false allegations and will assume in the short term all necessary initiatives for my protection before all competent venues,” the statement concluded.
Argento has been one of the harshest accusers of producer Harvey Weinstein whom she said sexually assaulted her and alongside Rose McGowan, one of the most outspoken critics of sexual misconduct.
Bennett’s accusation comes from an alleged encounter between the two in a California hotel room back in 2013, when the actor, who starred in Daddy Day Care, was 17. Bennett played the son of Argento’s character in the movie she directed titled, The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things.
The late Anthony Bourdain and Argento began dating in 2017 after she appeared on an episode of the CNN series Parts Unknown, which was filmed in her hometown of Rome, Italy.
Anthony Bourdain committed suicide on June 8, 2018.