Asia Argento has denied allegations that years ago she had sex with a teenage actor who recently extracted a $380,000 settlement from her and her late partner Anthony Bourdain, purported photos and text messages from the actress that were leaked to TMZ appear to indicate otherwise. Argento, an outspoken advocate of the #MeToo movement who was run out of Italy for daring to speak out about an alleged rape she suffered at the hands of Harvey Weinstein, had been accused of sexually assaulting actor Jimmy Bennett when he was 17, according to a leaked copy of an intent to sue notice that he sent to Argento and was obtained by The New York Times earlier this week. She was 37 at the time. In a statement following the publication of the document, Argento declared that she had never had sex with Bennett, but that she and Bourdain had agreed to pay him off in order to help him with his “severe economic distress” and avoid the public backlash of a trial.
But in messages obtained by TMZ, Argento allegedly told an unnamed associate that she did have sex with the young actor, whom she had known since he was 7 years old, but that she hadn’t realized he was underage until he attempted to blackmail her into a settlement payment.
“I had sex with him and it felt weird. I didn’t know he was a minor until the shakedown letter. The public knows nothing, only what [The New York Times] wrote. Which is one-sided. The shakedown letter. The horny kid jumped me,” one text message read. Another leaked message appeared to address purported photos from the incident in which the two were seen in bed together shirtless. “You can see my tits. That’s all. It doesn’t mean shit. He is standing up,” the message, attributed to Argento, reads.
TMZ also published a letter that it claims was a confession of love from Bennett to Argento. According to TMZ, Argento sent a photo of the letter to a friend, saying, “He wrote me this afterwards and kept sending me unsolicited nudes all these years up until 2 weeks before the attorneys letter.”
“It wasn’t raped [sic] but I was frozen,” another message reads. “He was on top of me. After, he told me I had been his sexual fantasy since was 12.”
Argento, who is now 42, has yet to address the apparent leaked content, but the reaction from the media in Italy echoes much of the rabid criticism she faced, and discussed in detail at the Women in the World New York Summit earlier this year, in the weeks after she went public with her allegations against Weinstein. Men and women in the pundit class took harsh aim at Argento, with some of the insults suggesting that it was she who was guilty — of prostitution — and not Weinstein. The backlash became so furious that Argento actually fled Italy.
Following the latest reports, a new wave of criticism from pundits has crashed onto Argento. An example one is of a front-page editorial that ran in Turin’s daily newspaper La Stampa and was authored by Mattia Feltri, according to The New York Times. In it he wrote: “She immediately ended up like Robespierre: guillotined because she ordered some guillotined.” Argento, in the apparent leaked text messages, seems to be contemplating fleeing the country again amid the hail of criticism. “If I lose my job I will move to Africa or the Amazon forest. I want to be among the 90 percent of the world that doesn’t give a fuck about this shit,” one message read.
Read the full story at The Daily Beast.