Asia Argento denied today that she engaged in a sexual relationship with the then-underaged Jimmy Bennett, saying in a statement that she is “deeply shocked and hurt having read the news that is absolutely false.”

“I have never had any sexual relationship with Bennett,” Argento said in a statement obtained by journalist Yashar Ali. The Italian actress did, however, confirm that her late boyfriend, celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain, paid Bennett to stop harassing Argento.

Argento’s lawyer did not respond to Deadline’s calls yesterday, seeking more information about the payment made to Bennett.

Bourdain considered Bennett “dangerous,” Argento said, after Bennett requested an “exorbitant” amount of money from Argento. “Anthony was afraid of the possible negative publicity that such person, whom he considered dangerous, could have brought upon us.”

Argento further states that Bennett, whom she had known “several years by friendship only,” was experiencing “severe economic problems” at the time and had taken legal action against his own family. She said Bennett knew that Bourdain was a man of “great perceived wealth” and “had his own reputation as a beloved public figure to protect.”

She called yesterday’s New York Times story about an alleged sexual relationship between her and the then-17-year-old Bennett “the umpteenth development of a sequence of events that brings me great sadness and that constitutes a long-standing persecution.”

The actress ends the statement with the suggestion of possible legal action.

Read the entire statement here:

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