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    Actress Asia Argento gestures on stage during the closing ceremony of the 71st international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Saturday, May 19, 2018

    Actress Asia Argento Denies Sexual Relationship With Underage Actor - Reports

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    The Italian actress is accused of paying "hush money" to Jimmy Bennett after a sexual encounter she wanted to keep secret.

    Asia Argento has denied allegations surrounding her relationship with actor Jimmy Bennett while he was an underage teen, insisting that there wasn't a sexual encounter between the pair in 2013. 

    In a statement distributed by her agent on Tuesday, Argento said, "I strongly deny and oppose the contents of the New York Times article… as circulated also in national and international news." 

    An article published by the New York Times on Sunday claimed that Argento had paid Bennett $380,000 to keep quiet about their sexual encounter, which reportedly took place at a hotel in Los Angeles.  

    According to Bennett's allegations, Argento had sex with him while he was 17 years old, below the legal age of consent in the state of California.

    She went on to describe herself as "deeply shocked and hurt" by the allegations hurled against her, which she stressed are "absolutely false."

    "I have never had any sexual relationship with Bennett," she reiterated.

    The actress insisted they had a platonic relationship for several years, which ended after Bennett "unexpectedly" asked her for a large sum of money shortly after she jointed the #MeToo movement. 

    She explained that she did pay Jimmy Bennett a sum of cash to avoid "negative publicity." 

    Argento’s illustrious career stretches beyond acting, with the Italian also producing films and modelling for several brands.

    She became a key figure in the #MeToo movement after she went public about sexual abuse by disgraced ex-Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, but is now on the receiving end of criticism.

    READ MORE: LA Police Seek Out Weinstein Accuser's "Abuse Victim" as She Faces Criticism

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    Tags:
    hush money, sexual abuse, New York Times, Harvey Weinstein, Jimmy Bennett, Asia Argento, Italy, Los Angeles, United States
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