Argento is blaming her deceased former boyfriend for the pay-off.
Call me old-fashioned, but dragging your deceased former lover into a sexual assault scandal doesn't seem like the most respectful thing to do. Let's start at the beginning. Asia Argento helped pioneer the #MeToo movement when she came forward as one of the first accusers of Harvey Weinstein. According to reports, Argento was contacted by the legal team of Jimmy Bennett soon after. Bennett starred alongside Argento in The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things in 2004 when he was eight years old. The two remained close, and Bennett's lawyer alleged that his client claimed Argento sexually assaulted him years later.
Allegedly, Argento got Bennett liquored up and performed oral sex on him before engaging in intercourse. The incident reportedly took place at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Marina del Rey, CA on May 9, 2013. Bennett was 17 at the time. Bennett's legal team threatened to sue, and The New York Times, obtained evidence that Argento paid $380,000 to Bennett in installments to keep the story hidden. That went well.
After news of Argento's hypocrisy hit the web, the entire #MeToo movement was placed under a microscope. Now, Argento has responded to the statutory rape allegations. Yashar Ali released the statement from Argento, that begins, "I strongly deny and oppose the contents of the New York Times article dated 20 August 2018, as circulated also in national and international news."
"I am deeply shocked and hurt by having read news that is absolutely false," she continued. "I have never had any sexual relationship with Bennet." Why the payoff then Argento? She claims that Bennett was motivated by “severe economic problems” that made the former child star also sue his family for millions looking for a check. When Bennett came knocking at his friend Argento's door for cash, her boyfriend at the time, Anthony Bourdain, decided to step in.
"Anthony insisted the matter be handled privately and this was also what Bennett wanted,” Argento continued. “Anthony was afraid of the possible negative publicity that such person, whom he considered dangerous, could have brought upon us. 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.”