Asia Argento is firmly denying an allegation of sexual assault — but she revealed that her late partner Anthony Bourdain did make a deal with her accuser.
A quiet payoff from the Italian filmmaker to her accuser, actor Jimmy Bennett, was first reported by The New York Times on Sunday. Documents show Argento arranged to pay Bennett $380,000 after he accused her of sexual assault when he was 17 and she was 37.
Argento spoke out about the deal for the first time Tuesday in a statement obtained by reporter Yashar Ali. In it, Argento denied the Times story and said she'd never had "any sexual relationship with Bennett." She went on to claim that Bennett, who once played her son in a movie, was "undergoing severe economic problems" and "unexpectedly made an exorbitant request of money from me."
Argento said that because she had been dating the late chef Bourdain, Bennett knew Bourdain would be "afraid of the possible negative publicity" from a public settlement. So Bourdain "personally undertook to help Bennett economically, upon the condition that we would no longer suffer any intrusions in our life," Argento said in her statement.
— Yashar Ali (@yashar) August 21, 2018
Sunday's news of the deal was especially noteworthy considering Argento's role at the helm of the #MeToo movement, as she was one of the first women to accuse disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault. Argento's arrangement with Bennett was finalized after the Weinstein revelations began pouring in, per the Times. Kathryn Krawczyk