Asia Argento Claims Anthony Bourdain Paid Off Her Accuser

Argento denies Jimmy Bennett's sexual assault allegations and says late boyfriend Bourdain arranged to pay him.

After days of silence on the matter, Asia Argento denied on Tuesday morning that she had a sexual relationship with a then-underage actor as reported by the The New York Times after the Times received encrypted documents from an anonymous source.

According to the report, the Italian actress, best known in America as Anthony Bourdain's girlfriend at the time of his death, as well as one of the earliest Harvey Weinstein accusers, paid off the actor, Jimmy Bennett. Bennett was 17 years old — not old enough to consent legally — at the time of the alleged act. 

Today, Argento has come forward to claim the sexual relationship never happened. She does acknowledge however that the payment was made to the actor by Anthony Bourdain, who died by suicide on June 8. She claims Bourdain made the payment so that Bennett would stop harassing the pair and that he had been trying to extort her.

In a statement from Argento shared by the journalist Yashar Ali, Argento said: "I am deeply shocked and hurt having read the news that is absolutely false. I have never had any sexual relationship with Bennett."

She added, "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. Anthony insisted that the matter be handled privately and this is 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 benefit Bennett economically, upon the condition that he would no longer suffer any further intrusions in our life."

Her entire statement is here.

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