Asia Argento has released a statement in response to the allegations that she sexually assaulted actor Jimmy Bennett when he was 17-years old. The actress denies any wrongdoing and claims that a payment was made so Bennett would stop harassing her and then-boyfriend Anthony Bourdain. Argento claims that it was Bourdain's idea to pay off Bennett, just to get him to go away and says that the young actor was trying to extort them. Bennett was initially seeking over $3 million in damages, but settled for $380,000.
In a new statement, Asia Argento alleges that she and Jimmy Bennett were only friends, which ended when he began harassing her and Anthony Bourdain. Argento says that Bennett was going through severe money problems when he made his claim against her. Court filings indicate that Bennett also attempted to sue his parents for millions of dollars around the same time. Argento explains.
"I was linked to him during several years by friendship only, which ended when, subsequent to my exposure in the Weinstein case, Bennett - who was then undergoing severe economic problems and who had previously undertaken legal actions against his own family requesting millions in damages - unexpectedly made an exorbitant request of money from me. Bennett knew my boyfriend, Anthony Bourdain, was a man of great perceived wealth and had his own reputation as a beloved public figure to protect."
Asia Argento strongly denies that she and Jimmy Bennett had a sexual relationship when he was 17-years old. The two had worked together, starting when Bennet was 7-years old, and had a self-proclaimed mother and son relationship. As for the decision to give the young actor some cash, Argento states that it was her then-boyfriend Anthony Bourdain's idea to pay, in order to get him out of their lives and help Bennett out. She had this to say.
"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. 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."
Jimmy Bennet has kept silent about the transaction and has yet to come out with a statement in response to Asia Argento's sexual misconduct accusations. As for the Argento's family, her father, Dario Argento, has defended his daughter. He believes that the whole thing is a conspiracy that was cooked up by Harvey Weinstein in retaliation. Argento was one of the first women to come forward about Weinstein's years of sexual misconduct and is one of the disgraced mogul's most outspoken accusers.
While Asia Argento strongly denies that she sexually assaulted Jimmy Bennett, the damage has already been done. Even if what she says is true, Argento still paid Bennett off, which doesn't look very good. However, her father's conspiracy theories do start to look more interesting after Harvey Weinstein's lawyers released a statement calling Argento a hypocrite and using the news as evidence that Weinstein's accusers weren't properly "vetted." You can read Asia Argento's full statement below, provided by Yashar Ali's Twitter account.