Asia Argento has released a statement denying an exposé by the New York Times that she paid $380,000 to actor Jimmy Bennett following a sexual assault he alleges took place against him in 2013.
In a statement released via her legal team, Argento stated the story is "absolutely false" and that she "never had any sexual relationship with Bennett."
"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," the statement read.
As well as this, the statement also brought up Argento's relationship with celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain, adding that "Bennet knew my boyfriend, Anthony Bourdain, as a man of great perceived wealth, and had his own reputation as a beloved public figure to protect."
According to Argento, Bourdain "insisted the matter be handled privately and this was also what Bennett wanted."
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The statement concludes with Argento explaining that she and Bourdain agreed to pay Bennett "and 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."
So far, Bennett has made no statement on the matter, however TMZ has since posted screenshots of texts from Argento to a friend that - if they are genuine - show Argento not only admitting she had sex with Bennett, but adding that she did not know he was under the age of of consent until Bennett's legal team sent her a "shakedown letter."
The screenshots also state that Bourdain paid a private investigator to work up a file on Bennett, and that Argento has evidence that Bennett continuously sent her advances after the alleged incident.