TMZ Report Contradicts Asia Argento's Claim of No 'Sexual Relationship' with Minor

File image of Asia Argento

File image of Asia Argento

A report in the New York Times earlier this week uncovered a secret hush payment made to former child actor, Jimmy Bennett, who had accused his former co-star, Asia Argento, of sexually assaulting him in 2013, when he was 17 years old.

"Bennett - who was then undergoing severe economic problems and who had previously untaken legal actions against his own family requesting millions in damages - unexpectedly made an exorbitant request of money from me", Argento said in her statement.

"I am deeply shocked and hurt by having read news that is absolutely false".

"I strongly deny and oppose the contents of the New York Times article", she said.

She also said the payment was facilitated by her late boyfriend Anthony Bourdain, who was concerned about the "dangerous" Bennett.

The New York Times reported on Sunday that Bennett had accused Argento of sexually assaulting him in 2013 when he was 17 and she was 37. "I never had any sexual relationship with [Jimmy] Bennett".

Bennett and Argento were cast mates in a 2004 movie she wrote, directed and starred in; Bennett was 7 and was cast as her son in the film.

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The paper said the story was based on an encrypted email the reporter received from an unknown source; it contained documents about the settlement between Argento and Bennett and her lawyer over his demand for compensation, and included a selfie of the two in bed.

Argento, along with scores of other Weinstein accusers, became a prominent voice in the campaign to hold powerful sexual abusers accountable. We chose to deal compassionately with Bennett's demand for help and give it to him. The Italian actress arranged a deal to pay actor/musician Bennett $380,000.

Representatives for Bennett did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the matter.

In her statement she went on to allege it was her boyfriend, Bourdain - who died by suicide in June - who put forward the money to Bennett in order for the couple to avoid "further intrusion" in their lives.

"This is, therefore, the umpteenth development of a sequence of events that brings me great sadness and that constitutes a long-standing persecution", Argento said, before pledging to take "all necessary initiatives for my protection before all competent venues". Argento told the magazine that she continued to have a relationship with Weinstein because she was afraid of angering him. She distanced herself from Argento but also suggested that watchers "be gentle" as "the truth of the situation" surrounding Argento is not yet known.

Los Angeles County sheriff's Captain Darren Harris on Monday said investigators were looking into the alleged incident.

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