Accused of sexually abusing child actor in California hotel, Asia Argento, firm votary of #MeToo campaign, axed from ‘X Factor Italy’

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Actress-director Asia Argento has lost her place as a judge in X Factor Italy amidst allegations that she sexually abused a former child actor who once appeared in a movie with her.

Asia Argento

According to media reports, Sky Italia and FremantleMedia Italia decided to sack Argento from the live portion of the talent show, which starts airing on 6 September, reported Variety website.

Argento will continue to appear on the first few episodes of the X Factor since they have already been recorded. The announcement on her replacement will be made soon but several reports said that Argento’s ex-husband, Italian pop star Morgan, will take her position. The live portion of “X Factor Italy” will officially begin with Morgan as her replacement from 25 October.

Argento’s position became untenable as the reality show’s judge after it emerged that she paid former child actor and musician Jimmy Bennett a $380,000 to settle the matter in order to avoid embarrassment and possible legal consequences. Argento has admitted the payout, which she said was made by her former boyfriend, the late Anthony Bourdain, but denied she had sex with Bennett.

In a statement issued to New York Times, Argento said, “I was linked to him during several years by friendship only, which ended when, subsequent to my exposure in the Weinstein case.” She went on to add that she agreed for the $3,80,000 settlement to avoid negative publicity.

The action against Argento assumes significance since she herself had alleged rape by disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein during her powerful Cannes speech this year. Speaking the film festival, Argento had stunned everyone by confessing that she was raped in 1997 by Harvey Weinstein at Cannes.

“I was 21 years old. This festival was his hunting ground. I want to make a prediction. Harvey Weinstein will never be welcomed here ever again. He will live in disgrace, shunned by a film community that embraced him and covered up for his crimes,” she had alleged.

Argento has also been one of the most outspoken critics of sexual misconduct in the entertainment industry.

The accusation against her stems from an alleged encounter between her and Bennett in a California hotel room in 2013, when he was 17. The legal age of consent in California is 18.) As a child actor, Bennett played the son of Argento’s character in the movie she directed, “The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things.”

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