NEWS
21/08/2018 16:56 BST | Updated 22/08/2018 09:37 BST

Asia Argento Strongly Denies Sexual Assault After Allegation From Jimmy Bennett

The actor said there was no “sexual relationship”.

Asia Argento has strongly denied sexual assault, following the leak of documents which appeared to reveal she settled a case out of court in late 2018.

In a statement issued to reporter Yashar Ali, who has written for HuffPost, the actor said she was “deeply shocked and hurt by having read news that is absolutely false”.

On Monday, the New York Times published a report based on legal documents it had obtained, in which actor Jimmy Bennett claims Argento sexually assaulted him in a California hotel room in 2013. Bennett alleged the incident took place when he was 17 years old.

The documents obtained by the newspaper indicated that Argento had agreed to give Bennett $380,000 (£296,000) in instalments.

Argento says in her new statement that she did make a payment to the former child actor, but denies “any sexual relationship” with Bennett.

She says: “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.

“Antony insisted the matter be handled privately and this was also what Bennett wanted. 

Jason LaVeris via Getty Images
Argento and Bourdain began their relationship in 2017 

“Anthony was afraid of the possible negative publicity that such person, whom he considered dangerous, could have brought upon us,” she continues. 

“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.”

A celebrated chef and broadcaster, Bourdain was found dead in a hotel room in June, at the age of 61.

HuffPost UK has contacted Bennett’s representatives for comment.

Argento’s statement came after Los Angeles sheriff’s department confirmed that it was investigating the allegation of sexual assault.

Captain Darren Harris, from the Los Angeles County sheriff’s department previously issued statement confirming investigators are trying to speak to Bennett or his representatives.