Italian actress and director, and foremost #MeToo campaigner Asia Argento has released a statement, saying she was sexually assaulted by then 17-year old Jimmy Bennett in 2013.
According to New York Times, Bennett claimed Argento assaulted him in a California hotel room in 2013 , just two months after his 17th birthday. Argento was 37 at the time, and the age of consent in California is 18.
Argento, one of the accusers of Harvey Weinstein had, in October, after several women came forward with reports of sexual assault against Weinstein, allegedly quietly arranged to pay $380,000 to Bennett, a document seen by New York Times had revealed.
Asia’s new statement was released by her new lawyer Mark Jay Heller. Heller said there was a “sexual attack” but Asia was the victim.
In a text message that TMZ posted, Keller said a text message posted by TMZ tells the real story. The text said: “The horny kid jumped me … I had sex with him it felt weird.” She went on to add that she was “frozen” when he jumped on her, saying he told her that she had been his sexual fantasy since he was 12 years old.
Asia had released a statement after the initial story broke saying: “I have never had any sexual relationship with Bennett”. Heller said that statement was honest as it was a one time encounter not a relationship.
Heller’s statement, titled “Asia Argento Launches “Phase Two” of the #MeToo Movement,” adds that Bennett, after finding out that Asia was dating late celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain, tried to extort the couple.
Bennett “chose to intrude on that relationship and demand financial payment from Bourdain in consideration for not embarrassing Asia and indirectly Bourdain,” Heller said, adding that Bourdain decided to pay him $380,000 to protect Asia.
Bennett claimed the payment was hush money.
Heller’s statement added that Bourdain had paid $250,000 at this point and no further payment will be made.
Heller’s statement added:
“Asia does not intend to prosecute Bennett for his conduct and recognizes that his unfortunate past, his stalled acting career, and a lawsuit against his own parents for allegedly misappropriating more than a million and a half dollars from his account might explain his desperation to seek money from Asia and Bourdain for this falsely alleged incident that took place more than 5 years ago.”
Read the full statement HERE
(Photo Credit: Simona Granati – Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)