Asia Argento denies sexual assault allegations, says Anthony Bourdain sent hush payment

Asia Argento Reportedly Abused, Paid Off 17-Year-Old

While reporting on the death of American travel host and chef Anthony Bourdain, who had been dating Argento, Severson said she began hearing stories about the Italian actor and director.

McGowan and Argento have been among the most prominent women to come forward with allegations of rape against now-disgraced film titan Harvey Weinstein, who is facing criminal charges in NY unrelated to McGowan or Argento. "I have never had any sexual relationship with Bennett". Sky Italia, the show's broadcaster, and FremantleMedia, its producer, said Monday that, if the allegations against Argento were true, they "would have no choice but to take note of it and put an end to the collaboration with Asia Argento".

The actress, who was one of the first Harvey Weinstein accusers, said she and the now 22-year-old actor were linked "by friendship only" and that Bennett "unexpectedly made an exorbitant request of money from me".

According to documents obtained by the Times, Argento agreed to pay $380,000 over the course of a year and a half, starting with an initial payment of $200,000 that was made in April.

In an issued statement, Argento called the New York Times story "absolutely false" and denied ever having a sexual relationship with Bennett.

Bourdain, her statement says, wanted the matter to "be handled privately and this was also what Bennett wanted".

She claims in her statement that Bourdain paid out the large sum of money to Bennett - whom Argento claims had "severe economic problems" - out of concerns over what Bennett would do if he didn't.

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Argento claimed that he first forced himself on her in 1997, and that there were other encounters through the years where she was afraid to refuse his advances because of the power he wielded in the industry.

Argento said she is persecuted. "Anthony was afraid of the possible negative publicity that such person, whom he considered risky, could have brought upon us", Argento said.

In legal documents obtained by the Times, Bennett claims that on May 9, 2013, Argento served him an alcoholic drink at a room in the Marina Del Rey Ritz-Carlton and subsequently performed oral sex on him.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department has said it is looking into the allegations. Activist Rose McGowan said her "heart is broken" by the report.

"Bourdain was also an outspoken supporter of his girlfriend after she went public with her sexual assault allegations against Weinstein, tweeting last October, "@AsiaArgento, I am proud and honored to know you.

Ben Brafman, a lawyer for Mr Weinstein, said the development revealed "a stunning level of hypocrisy by Asia Argento".

Weinstein has been indicted on charges involving three women, but the cases do not include Argento.

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