Asia Argento is expected to be dropped from the upcoming 12th cycle of The X Factor Italy, but is likely to appear in episodes that have already been taped. Local media reported over the weekend that the current scenario would see the Italian actress and filmmaker take part in the first seven pre-recorded shows, later being replaced for the live installments by an as-yet unnamed judge.
Producers have yet to make an official statement, although a source close to X Factor Italy confirms the accuracy of a report in Italian daily Il Messaggero. The first episodes in which Argento participated were to select the season’s 12 competitors, and broadcasting what’s already been taped is said to be out of respect for the 40K people that attended the casting and the contestants who were ultimately chosen. The series returns to Sky Uno on September 6 with the live shows beginning October 25.
The moves follow calls for Argento’s ouster after a New York Times story published last Sunday alleged she sexually assaulted a 17-year-old male in 2013 and arranged a deal to pay him $380,000 over the incident.
In the wake of the NYT story, Argento, who has been a public face of the #MeToo campaign and an accuser of Harvey Weinstein, denied that she engaged in a sexual relationship with the then-underaged Jimmy Bennett. She did, however, confirm that her late boyfriend, chef/author/TV host Anthony Bourdain, paid Bennett as much as $380,000 to stop harassing her as part of a shakedown. Later, a selfie photo of Argento and Bennett together in bed was released while what appears to be a series of texts between Argento and a friend detailing the interaction with Bennett also leaked out.
Argento was originally announced as a judge on Sky Italia/FremantleMedia Italy’s X Factor Italia in May, but her role was called into question last week amid the revelations. Sky and Fremantle on Monday released a statement saying, “We want to be very clear: If what the New York Times writes” were to be confirmed, “this story would be completely incompatible with the ethical principles and values of Sky and therefore — in full agreement with FremantleMedia — we could only take note and cease the collaboration with Asia Argento.”