Asia Argento will reportedly cease any further payments to her sexual accuser, Jimmy Bennett, after retaining a new attorney as per a story published by Page Six. Argento’s lawyer Mark Jay Heller denies reports Argento had a sexual relationship with Bennett, as noted by the entertainment column.
Heller claims his client’s relationship with Bennett was “never sexual.”
Instead, he remarked that the two had a “relationship that was a long distance friendship over many years.”
The statement also acknowledged that Argento’s late former love, CNN’s Parts Unknown host Anthony Bourdain, entered a $380,000 agreement with Bennett to protect Argento.
Heller noted that since Bourdain has passed, no further scheduled payments to Bennett will continue.
“Now that Mr. Bourdain has passed away and is not able to comment on his desire to avoid potential scandal … Asia will not permit any portion of the balance of the $380,000 payment to be paid to Bennett who has already received $250,000 from Anthony Bourdain,” Argento’s lawyer claimed.
Bennett stated of his and Argento’s relationship, “I was underage when the event took place… I didn’t think that people would understand the event that took place from the eyes of a teenage boy.”
A report published in The New York Times on August 19 alleged that Argento paid actor and musician Jimmy Bennett $380,000 after he accused her of giving him alcohol and molesting him years earlier when he was a teen.
Argento’s lawyer also stated that although these allegations remain against the Italian actress, they should not deter from the progress that has been made in the Me Too movement against those that have been sexually assaulted.
Both Argento and Rose McGowan were the first and most vocal opponents against Harvey Weinstein’s sexual assault against women.
In a 2017 New Yorker story, Ronan Farrow interviewed Argento for his feature which displayed the lengths at which Weinstein would go to keep women quiet after forcing them into sexual acts.
“I know he has crushed a lot of people before,” Argento said in the New Yorker piece. “That’s why this story—in my case, it’s twenty years old, some of them are older—has never come out.”
Argento’s lawyer called the actress’s legal issues “phase two of the #metoo movement,” explaining that “Asia never initiated an inappropriate sexual contact with a minor, but rather she was attacked by Bennett and might even be suffering the fallback of a smear campaign by those already accused who may have a vested interest in their accusers being denied credibility.”