The actress Asia Argento denies having abused young actor

A few months ago she made the news after she accused the powerful Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein of having violated her at the age of 21 at the Cannes Festival ceremony. Now, the actress and Italian filmmaker Asia Argento accuse her of having sexually abused a minor.

Legal documents, which the BBC has not reviewed and which were reported on Sunday by the New York Times, show that Argento the actor Jimmy Bennett was paid US $ 380,000 after it accuse him of having sexually abused in a hotel room in California in 2013.

The 42-year-old actress remained silent until Tuesday, when she denied in a statement that she had sex with Bennett, although she admitted having paid the young man money.

"I am deeply surprised and impressed by reading Absolutely incorrect information"Said Argento in a letter issued by AFP.

The accusation against the actress led to an investigation announced Monday by the office of the Los Angeles sheriff, reporting that they were trying to contact Bennett and his lawyer and that the department had not received any previous reports of the alleged incident.

In 2013, Bennett was 17 years old. The age of consensus in California for a sexual relationship is 18 years. Argento was 37 years old at the moment of the supposed meeting that the young actor reported.

"Out of compassion"

The actress said she had paid the young actor and musician for "compassion and to help him" because he had financial problems. He also said that the payment was made by his then partner, the famous chef Anthony Bourdain, who committed suicide on 8 June.

"For several years I was attached to him (Bennett) for friendship, a relationship that ended then, after my exposure to the Weinstein case, Bennett – who then experienced serious economic problems and who had previously taken legal action against him own family that millions asks for compensation – unexpectedly I made an exorbitant request for money, "Argento said.

"Bennett knew that my friend, Anthony Bourdain, was a very well-placed man with an important reputation as a public figure he had to keep," the actress added.

"Anthony was afraid of the possible negative publicity that the person, who he considered dangerous, could have thrown at us," said the statement.

"Anthony personally made a promise to help Bennett financially with the condition that we do not suffer any burglaries in our lives. "

According to the documents reviewed by the New York TimesOn May 9, 2013, Bennett and Argento met in her room at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Marina del Rey, west of downtown Los Angeles.

Both knew each other since 2004, when Bennett played the role of Argento & # 39; s son in the film The Heart is deceitful above all elsethat she also directed and helped with writing.

Bennett was accompanied by a relative, but the actress asked him to leave her alone with the young man, according to the newspaper report. That was when the alleged abuse would have taken place.

The newspaper published photo's that Argento published on social networks and showed that he had a meeting with the young actor that day.

The documents indicate that the meeting traumatized Bennett and influenced his mental health and careeras reported by the American newspaper.

Bennett's lawyer, Gordon K. Sattro, quotes in the paper that the young man decided in November last year to prosecute Argento after he had seen her as a victim of sexual abuse.

According to the newspaper report, Sattro argued that after the sexual encounter the actor's career was damaged and that Bennett had failed to enter more than $ 60,000 per year.

Bennett, who is now 22, has not ruled on his accusation.

According to his lawyer, the young person "prepares his answer".

Powerful # MeToo voice

Argento was one of the first women in the film industry to publicly accuse the powerful producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault.

She became one of the leaders of the # MeToo movement, which united women and men who reported bullying and sexual abuse in various areas, notably entertainment, but also in politics, journalism, business and sports.

After the accusation against Argento arose, representatives of the movement asked Do not use these allegations to discredit the cause.

Tarana Burke, founder of #meToo, said that the movement was as much for female victims as men.

"Sexual violence has to do with power and privilege. This does not detract from the fact that the perpetrator is your favorite actress, activist or teacher of any gender ".

One of the lawyers from Harvey Weinstein meanwhile said that these reports "the impressive level of hypocrisy of Asia Argento & # 39; unveil.

In her response on Tuesday, the filmmaker who has been acting since her childhood and acknowledged for her work in Italy simply said that the situation with the young actor is "a very sad thing for me because he has been persecuting me for a long time. # 39;

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