Asia Argento now claims that Jimmy Bennett, then 17, was the one who raped her and not, as he claims, the other way around in 2013.
Bennett last month charged that Argento sexually assaulted him when she was 37 and he was 17. Days after the allegations emerged, TMZ obtained text messages allegedly sent by Argento to a friend that said she had sex with Bennett at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Marina del Rey, California.
But her attorney, Mark Jay Heller, now says that Bennett’s allegations are not true, and it was Bennett who was the aggressor. He claims Argento’s boyfriend, the late Anthony Bourdain, agreed to pay Bennett $380,000 simply to protect her.
“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,’ her attorney said.
Bennett was paid $250,000 but Heller said on Tuesday that Argento will not pay Bennett the $130,000 balance because the agreement was made by Bourdain before he killed himself in June.
“Now that Mr. Bourdain has passed away and is not able to comment on his desire to avoid potential scandal … Asia will not permit any portion of the balance of the $380,000 payment to be paid to Bennett who has already received $250,000 from Anthony Bourdain,” Heller said.
“In a statement Tuesday, she finally responded to the assault allegations, calling them ‘absolutely false’ and insisting she never had “any sexual relationship” with Bennett — who played her young son in the 2003 movie ‘The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things,’ ” The New York Post said.
But after the 42-year-old Italian actress publicly accused producer Harvey Weinstein of assault in October last year — kicking off a flood of similar allegations from other women and thrusting her into the center of the #MeToo movement — she says a cash-strapped Bennett came to her with an “exorbitant request of money.”
“Bennett knew my boyfriend, Anthony Bourdain, was a man of great perceived wealth and had his own reputation as a beloved public figure to protect,” Argento’s statement reads.
“Anthony insisted the matter be handled privately and this was also what Bennett wanted. Anthony was afraid of the possible negative publicity that such [a] 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,” she continued.
According to Bennett, in 2013, Argento gave him alcohol and showed him love letters before kissing the teen boy. She then pushed him onto a bed and performed oral sex on him before climbing on top of him and having sex with him, he claimed in his notice of intent to sue the actress.
Argento has claimed she did not know he was a minor at the time.