Asia Argento denies all allegations of sexual aggression against her in a new report from the New York Times, published on Sunday.
The report claimed that Argento, one of the most striking faces of the # MeToo movement and a prosecutor of the unjust film producer Harvey Weinstein, had settled with a former male co-star for US $ 380,000.
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The actor, Jimmy Bennett, claimed that Argento sexually abused him in a hotel room in 2013 when he was only 17 – younger than the age of consent in California – and she was 37. The Times called documents anonymously to the publication and verified them with three people familiar with the case. In the documents, Bennett said Argento gave him alcohol, kissed him, and fed oral sex before the couple had sexual intercourse.
Bennett, now 22, sent a notice of intent to file a lawsuit in November against Richard Hofstetter, a lawyer for both Argento and her head chef Anthony Bourdain, who was then his boyfriend. He asked for compensation of $ 3.5 million for the "deliberate infliction" of emotional distress, abuse, battery and damage to his career.
Argento, now 42, would have paid the settlement of $ 380,000 last October, shortly after publicly claiming that Weinstein had raped her. She said it sexual violence has occurred during the Cannes Film Festival in 1997 when she was 21. (Weinstein rejected all allegations of sex without conditions, and said that Argento's allegations are "totally false" in particular)
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Now, Argento has a statement written vehemently denying the accusations, saying that she never slept with Bennett or had any sexual contact with him. (Argento sent the statement to freelance journalist Yashar Ali, who confirmed to Global News that he was the only recipient of the message.)
"I strongly deny and deny the content of the article in the New York Times of August 20, 2018, as also circulated in national and international news," read her statement. "I am deeply shocked and hurt by reading news that is absolutely false, I never had a sexual relationship with Bennett."
"I was connected to him only for a few years by friendship alone, who then ended, after my exposure to the Weinstein case, Bennett – who then experienced serious economic problems and had previously taken legal action against his own family claiming millions of damages – unexpectedly an exorbitant request for money from me. "Bennett knew that my friend, Anthony Bourdain, was a man of great perceived wealth and had his own reputation as a beloved public figure to protect. & # 39;
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Argento then arrives in unexpected territory and says that Bourdain & # 39; personally has agreed to help Bennett economically.
"Antony [sic] insisted that the case was handled privately and this was also what Bennett wanted, "the statement continued." Anthony was afraid of the possible negative publicity that such a person, whom he considered dangerous, could have We have decided to treat the question of Bennett's help with compassion and to give it to him Anthony has personally pledged to help Bennett economically, on condition that we no longer intrude into our lives. & # 39;
"So this is the umpteenth development of a succession of events that brings me great sadness and that is a long-standing persecution, so I have no choice but to oppose such false accusations and in the short term I will take all necessary initiatives for my protection for all competent locations, "it concludes.
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For her report research the Times received an email in April from Argento lawyer Carrie Goldberg who acknowledged the settlement and payment to Bennett, who wrote them and helped him & # 39; & # 39 ;; The words of Goldberg in the e-mail seem to correspond with Argento's claims.
"We hope that such a thing never happens again," Goldberg wrote in the e-mail. "You are a powerful and inspiring creator and it is a miserable state of life that you live among filthy individuals who have hunted both your strengths and your weaknesses."
Following the report, several old tweets from Argento to Bennett have re-emerged, including this intimate multi-day thread of several days from 2012.
Rose McGowan, Argento's friend and co-actor, has met with her publicly against Weinstein as part of the # MeToo movement. McGowan also claimed that Weinstein had raped her and attacked the producer on several occasions online and during protests. In response to the Times report on Argento, she tweeted at the beginning of Monday that her & # 39; heart broken & # 39; is.
McGowan defended Argento after Bourdain's suicide in June, when apparently romantic photographs appeared of her with another man days prior to the death of the famous chef.
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It is currently unclear whether Argento is taking legal action.
From this moment Bennett did not make any overt comments about the case or about Argento's refusal.
– With files courtesy of Yashar Ali
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