Asia Argento Breaks Silence, Reveals Anthony Bourdain's Role in Sexual Assault Payoff Scandal

Italian actress Asia Argento has denied allegations that she sexually assaulted an underage male [...]

Italian actress Asia Argento has denied allegations that she sexually assaulted an underage male actor.

On Tuesday, prominent #MeToo activist Asia Argento, 42, broke her silence on a Sunday report from The New York Times that claimed she had sexually assaulted Jimmy Bennett in a California hotel room when he was just 17 and then paid him in return for his silence.

In a statement obtained by journalist Yashar Ali, Argento claimed that she was "deeply shocked and hurt" by the Sunday report and added that the allegations were "absolutely false" and that she had never had "any sexual relationship with Bennett."

She went on to state that she and Bennett, now 22, were linked "during several years of friendship only," and that Bennett had made the claims against her only after she had made her own allegations of sexual assault against Weinstein.

"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," she explained.

In the statement, Argento explained that rather than enduring a long, drawn-out battle, her late boyfriend Anthony Bourdain made a payment to Bennet in order to avoid "negative publicity. She added that she and Bourdain "decided to deal compassionately with Bennett's demand for help and give it to him" and that Bourdain had chosen to "help Bennett economically, upon the condition that we would no longer suffer any further intrusions in our life."

"This is, therefore, the umpteenth development of a sequence of events that brings me great sadness and that constitutes a long-standing persecution," Argento continued in the statement. "I have therefore no other choice but to oppose such false allegations and will assume in the short term all necessary initiatives for my protection before all competent venues."

According to The New York Times report, the alleged assault occurred in 2013 after he and Argento had earlier starred together in the 2004 film The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things. Documents obtained by the publication and confirmed by three others allegedly confirmed that the actress had reached a financial settlement with Bennett.

As a result of Bennett's allegations, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is now investigating the claims, with investigators seeking to speak with Bennett or his representatives regarding the incident. A spokesperson for the department has stated that they have been unable to locate any police reports relating to the incident.