Actress Asia Argento denies sexual relationship with accuser

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Asia Argento, Italian actress and prominent Harvey Weinstein accuser, is speaking out a few days after a bombshell report from the New York Times revealed a $380,000 settlement between herself and former child actor Jimmy Bennett.

In a statement from Argento shared by the journalist Yashar Ali, Argento said: "I am deeply shocked and hurt having read the news that is absolutely false".

"I strongly deny and oppose the contents of the New York Times article dated 20 August 2018, as circulated also in national and worldwide news", Argento said in a statement given to reporter Yashar Ali.

While reporting on the death of American travel host and chef Anthony Bourdain, who had been dating Argento, Severson said she began hearing stories about the Italian actor and director. "Anthony personally took to help Bennett economically, upon the condition that he would no longer suffer any intrusions in our life".

A lawyer for the actor, who played Argento's young son in a 2004 film, is also quoted as saying his client chose to sue Ms Argento after seeing her present herself as a victim of sexual assault.

Argento became a powerful voice for the #MeToo movement after accusing Weinstein of raping her when she was 21 in his hotel room in 1997 during the Cannes film festival. (In California, 18 is the age of consent.) The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department has said it is "aware" of the allegations and were trying to reach out to Bennett. If Argento weren't one of their own, the movement would have the actress' head for using the alleged victim's past to discredit his claim against her.

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In a statement to The Associated Press on Monday, a lawyer for Bennett said the actor "does not wish to comment on the documents or the events" at this time.

As reported by The Times, Bennett allegedly met Argento at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Marina del Rey, CA on May 9, 2013.

That payout was only a fraction of the $3.5 million that Bennett had requested in the notice.

First, she appeared to distance herself from Argento, saying, "I got to know Asia Argento ten months ago".

Argento and Bennett co-starred in a 2004 film called "The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things" in which Argento played Bennett's prostitute mother.

Argento said she opposes "false" allegations made against her and the "long-standing persecution" brings her great sadness. In addition, Bourdain reportedly told Argento that she wasn't purchasing silence, "only freedom from inconvenience". The settlement states that Argento must pay the alleged victim $380,000 over the course of two years.

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