Asia Argento denies sexual relationship with accuser

Asia Argento denies sexual relationship with accuser
FILE - In this April 12, 2018 file photo, Italian actress and director Asia Argento arrives at the ninth annual Women in the World Summit in New York. Argento, one of the most prominent activists of the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment, recently settled a complaint filed against her by a young actor and musician who said she sexually assaulted him when he was 17, the New York Times reported. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — The Italian actress and filmmaker Asia Argento says she never had a sexual relationship with the young actor whom she paid ,000 after he accused her of sexual assault.

In a statement Tuesday, Argento said reports were “absolutely false” and that she was linked “in friendship only” to Jimmy Bennett, a now 22-year-old Los Angeles actor who filed a legal notice of intent to sue Argento. As detailed in a New York Times story published Sunday, Bennett claimed Argento sexually assaulted him when he was 17.

Argento said the ,000 payment was made by her late boyfriend Anthony Bourdain, the television star chef. Argento said Bourdain “personally undertook to help Bennett economically” under the condition that he not contact Argento again.

A lawyer for Bennett did not immediately comment Tuesday.