TMZ has obtained leaked text messages, purportedly written by Asia Argento, that appear to contradict her denial of a sexual encounter with a then-17-year-old boy.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, the New York Times recently obtained documents showing that the attorney for a former child actor who co-starred in a film with Argento sent the Italian actress a letter of intent to sue late last year, claiming that she had sexual relations with the actor in 2013 when he was 17 years old.
Argento did not respond to requests for comment to the New York Times, but issued a statement in a statement to freelance reporter Yashar Ali, denying that she had a sexual relationship with her reported accuser, James Bennett.
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) August 21, 2018
But text messages obtained by TMZ appear to contradict that denial — though the TMZ report does not indicate if or how these messages were verified as being written by Argento. The purported message exchange between Argento and an unidentified friend reportedly took place after the New York Times article was published.
“I had sex with him it felt weird,” reads one message attributed to Argento. “I didn’t know he was a minor until the shakedown letter.”
The messages also claim that Bennett initiated the sex, reportedly telling the actress-director that it was a longtime fantasy of his, and that he continued to send Argento “unsolicited nudes” for years after the alleged encounter.
Argento was dating Anthony Bourdain until his apparent suicide in June, and said in her statement to the reporter on Tuesday that Bourdain paid the settlement money to Bennett in order to protect the couple’s privacy. She indicated that it was Bourdain’s idea to provide the young actor with a payment.
Asia Argento and 17-Year-Old Boy in Bed in Sexual Encounter https://t.co/XK7S5JsoKy
— TMZ (@TMZ) August 22, 2018
TMZ also obtained a photo reportedly taken in Argento’s Los Angeles-area hotel room on the day of the alleged sexual encounter. Argento and Bennett appear to be in bed and both show bare shoulders and chest, indicating they are both shirtless.
The photograph is mentioned in the text message exchange. The friend purportedly speaking to Argento writes, “What’s up with the photo taken in bed? … I think that’s one that will be harder to cushion. Images are annoyingly assumption nation.”
Argento’s attorney did not immediately respond to TMZ’s request for comment.
[Feature image: Arthur Mola for Invision via AP]