Asia Argento, an Italian actress and director who was a leading figure in the #MeToo movement has spoken up after a New York Times report stated that she had arranged to pay actor, Jimmy Bennett after he accused her of sexually assaulting him when he was 17.
In a statement, Argento said she had never had sex with Bennett whose lawyer, Gordon K. Sattro, said that her denial was false and that he was working with his client on a statement.
That claim and the subsequent arrangement for payments are laid out in documents between lawyers for Ms. Argento and Mr. Bennett, a former child actor who once played her son in a movie. The documents, which were sent to The New York Times through encrypted email by an unidentified party, include a selfie dated May 9, 2013, of the two lying in bed. As part of the agreement, Mr. Bennett, who is now 22, gave the photograph and its copyright to Ms. Argento, now 42.
“I am deeply shocked and hurt by having read news that is absolutely false. I have never had any sexual relationship with Bennett” she said in a statement circulated on social media. His claim, she said, “constitutes a longstanding persecution.”
According to initial reports, Argento quietly arranged to pay $380,000 to her accuser: Jimmy Bennett, a young actor and rock musician who said she had sexually assaulted him in a California hotel room years earlier, when he was only 17 and she was 37. The age of consent in California is 18.