Asia Argento Says Accuser Payoff Was Anthony Bourdain’s Idea

Argento, Bourdain. Photo: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

Just two days after the New York Times reported that actress Asia Argento paid $380,000 to a former co-star, Jimmy Bennett, relating to a sexual assault alleged to have taken place when Bennett was 17, Argento has issued a statement that Anthony Bourdain, her boyfriend at the time, told her to make the payment.

In the initial Times report, reporter Kim Severson wrote that Bourdain helped Argento “navigate the matter” and it was his lawyer, Richard Hofstetter, that represented Argento. Now, Argento claims that though she completely denies that she assaulted Bennett, Bourdain encouraged her to pay the actor off and that “the matter be handled privately and this was also what Bennett wanted.” Meanwhile, TMZ claims to have seen texts between the two discussing the matter, with Bourdain reportedly writing to Argento, “You are not buying silence. Only freedom from inconvenience. And to help a ‘poor twisted goof’ get his life together.”

“Anthony was afraid of the possible negative publicity that such a person, whom he considered dangerous, could have brought on us,” reads Argento’s statement to reporter Yashar Ali. “We decided to 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.”

Asia Argento Says Accuser Payoff Was Anthony Bourdain’s Idea