After a day of silence, as speculation about her raged around the internet, Asia Argento has spoken.
On Sunday night, the New York Times reported that Argento, one of Harvey Weinstein’s first accusers and a pillar of the #MeToo movement, allegedly once had a sexual relationship with former co-star, Jimmy Bennett, who was underage at the time, and attempted last year to purchase his silence for $380,000. How the accusation will affect the movement itself is a developing story that depends in part on how others react to the news about Argento. As for Argento herself, however, her reaction may have just made matters worse.
This morning, the actress released her statement to journalist Yashar Ali, which he shared in the below tweet:
— Yashar Ali ???? (@yashar) August 21, 2018
The thrust of the statement is a blanket denial of the sexual assault Bennett alleges, but the astounding part is that Argento appears to shift the blame for paying off Bennett to her late boyfriend, Anthony Bourdain.
“…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,” Argento writes. “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. Antony [sic] insisted the matter be handled privately, and this is also what Bennett wanted. Anthony was afraid of the possible negative publicity that such person, whom he considered dangerous, could have brought on us.”
According to the actress, Argento merely fell prey to a blackmail-seeking fake-victim and the poor financial and optics judgment of a beloved public figure who is no longer alive to share his side of the story. If Argento was already taking heat from some of Bourdain’s more passionate fans (wrongly) blaming her for his suicide, things are about to get much worse. And this time, she likely won’t have her sisters-in-arms from the #MeToo movement around to defend her.