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Asia Argento stops paying Bennett

Says was attacked by him, never had sex

(ANSA) - New York, September 5 - Asia Argento has stopped paying actor Jimmy Bennett to settle a sex-abuse lawsuit, her lawyer said Tuesday.
    She also reiterated she had not had sex with the former child actor when he was 17.
    Lawyer Mark Jay Heller said the #MeToo figurehead had halted the payments to Bennett agreed with her late partner Anthony Bourdain, the celebrity chef, to buy Bennett's silence.
    "The relationship with Bennett was never sexual, and in the end it will be discovered that it was she who was attacked by Bennette," said Heller.
    "Now that Bourdain is dead and can't comment on the desire to averta potential scandal, Asia won't let any more installments of the agreed $380,000 be paid to Bennett who has already received $250,000".
    The case has shaken Argento's role as a leader of the #MeToo campaign.
    On August 28 fellow figurehead Rose McGowan told Argento to "do the right thing" by fessing up to having had sex with Bennett in a California hotel in 2013.
    "Do the right thing. Be honest. Let justice run its course.
    Become the person you would have liked Harvey Weinstein to be," said McGowan of the Italian actress and director, one of the first to accuse the mogul of rape in October.
    Argento has been dropped by X-Factor Italy after the sexual assault charges from Bennett.
    Argento will not appear in live shows but will however be seen in the first seven sets of auditions recorded starting in March.
    Bennet's lawyer has said that Argento's denial that the two had allegedly non-consensual sex five years ago was false.
    The 22-year-old's lawyer, Gordon K. Sattro, said he was sexually assaulted by his hitherto mother figure when he was 17.
    Argento allegedly agreed to pay him $380,000 to settle a lawsuit over the alleged sexual assault, the NYT reported last month.
    The actress denied this, saying the money was aimed at ending "persecution".
    The pair met in 2004 when Bennett played Argento's son in a film she made about a drug-using mother.
    Argento admitted agreeing to pay Bennett $380,000 to settle the abuse lawsuit but said she had done it to avert blackmail, saying she had never had sex with the former child actor.
    Saying she was "shocked and wounded" by what she called "fake news", she said her late partner Bourdain, who committed suicide on June 8, had advised her to make the payout to stop Bennett keeping asking her for money.
    The TMZ website recently published a selfie of the pair lying in bed and said it was one of four snaps taken in a Marina del Rey hotel in 2013.
    TMZ also published a text message allegedly from Argento to a friend saying "I had sex with him, I didn't know he was under age until the blackmail letter arrived".
    She also allegedly said "that horny kid jumped on me".


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