According to multiple reports, Asia Argento has been dropped as a judge on X Factor Italy following allegations in The New York Times that she paid off her former co-star, actor Jimmy Bennett, after he accused her of sexually assaulting him in a hotel room in 2013 when he was 17 and she was 37. Although Argento has admitted to the payout, she has denied ever having a sexual relationship with him.
Variety reports that Argento will be pulled from the live portion of the upcoming season of X Factor Italy. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the 42-year-old actress will still be on the first seven episodes of the season, which were already shot earlier this summer. The show starts airing on Sept. 6.
ET has reached out to X Factor Italy producers for comment.
In a statement last week, Argento denied having any type of sexual relationship with Bennett, and claimed her boyfriend at the time -- the late Anthony Bourdain -- paid him off in order to avoid negative publicity and so he would leave the couple alone. Bennett, now 22, played her son in the 2004 film, The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things.
According to The New York Times, Argento settled the suit and paid Bennett $380,000. Just prior to the settlement, Argento had been in the headlines due to publicly accusing producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault in a New Yorker expose that was published in October. Weinstein has denied any allegations of non-consensual sex.
"I am deeply shocked and hurt by having read news that is absolutely false," Argento's statement, first obtained by journalist Yashar Ali, read. "I have never had any sexual relationship with Bennett. I was linked to him during several years by friendship only, which ended when, subsequent to my exposure in the Weinstein case, Bennett -- who was undergoing severe economic problems and who had previously undertaken legal actions against his own family requesting millions of dollars in damages -- unexpectedly made an exorbitant request of money from me. Bennett knew my boyfriend, Anthony Bourdain, was a man of great perceived wealth and had his own reputation as a beloved figure to protect."
"Anthony insisted the matter be handled privately and this was also what Bennett wanted," the statement continues. "Anthony was afraid of the possible negative publicity that such 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 he would no longer suffer any further intrusions in our life."
Meanwhile, Bennett also spoke out in a statement to ET this past Wednesday, and said he was choosing to "move forward."
"Many brave women and men have spoken out about their own experiences during the #metoo movement, and I appreciate the bravery that it took for each and every one of them to take such a stand," the statement reads. "I did not initially speak out about my story because I chose to handle it in private with the person who wronged me. My trauma resurfaced as she came out as a victim herself. I have not made a public statement in the past days and hours because I was ashamed and afraid to be part of the public narrative. I was underage when the event took place, and I tried to seek justice in a way that made sense to me at the time because I was not ready to deal with the ramifications of my story becoming public. At the time I believed there was still a stigma to being in the situation as a male in our society. I didn’t think that people would understand the event that took place from the eyes of a teenage boy. I have had to overcome many adversities in my life, and this is another that I will deal with, in time. I would like to move past this event in my life, and today I choose to move forward, no longer in silence."
A spokesperson for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department told ET last week that they were looking into the allegations against Argento, though they have not yet “located any police report alleging criminal activity."
"The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) is aware of the media reports naming Asia Argento as being involved in an alleged 2013 incident in an area policed by our Marina Del Rey Station," Captain Darren Harris said in a statement. "To date, the LASD has not located any police report alleging criminal activity within our jurisdiction in relation to this incident. After becoming aware of the allegations, the LASD’s Special Victims Bureau is attempting to reach out to the reported victim and/or his representatives in an effort to appropriately document any potential criminal allegations."
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