A photo appearing to show actress and #MeToo movement leader Asia Argento lying down with young actor Jimmy Bennett has surfaced.
The photo, published by TMZ, shows Argento and Bennett posing for a “selfie.”
Earlier this week, The New York Times reported it had received a photo from 2013 of the two lying in bed among documents sent to the newspaper through encrypted emails by an unidentified party. Bennett and Argento would at that time have been 17 and 37 respectively. In California, the age of consent is 18.
The newspaper reported that, months after publicly accusing Harvey Weinstein of rape, Argento agreed to make payments to Bennett after he accused her of sexual assault.
Argento denied the allegations in the newspaper in a statement first reported Tuesday by the Huffington Post, saying, “I am deeply shocked and hurt by having read news that is absolutely false. I have never had any sexual relationship with Bennett.”
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said on Monday that it was trying to reach Bennett in order to “appropriately document any potential criminal allegations.”
The Times reports it has obtained documents which show Argento arranged to pay Bennett $380,000 after he accused her of sexually assaulting him in 2013 at a hotel in California.
As part of the agreement, Argento reportedly received the photo’s copyright.
Argento’s lawyer, Carrie Goldberg, has not responded to CNN’s requests for comment.
An attorney for Bennett, Gordon K. Sattro, told CNN in a statement on Monday they were preparing a response to the report.
Sattro did not respond to CNN’s request for comment on Wednesday, but released a statement from Bennett to the New York Times.
“I did not initially speak out about my story because I chose to handle it in private with the person who wronged me. My trauma resurfaced as she came out as a victim herself,” Bennett said in his statement to The Times. “I was underage when the event took place, and I tried to seek justice in a way that made sense to me at the time because I was not ready to deal with the ramifications of my story becoming public. At the time I believed there was still a stigma to being in the situation as a male in our society.”
Argento and Bennett starred in the 2004 movie, “The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things.” Bennett played her son.
Argento has been at the forefront of the #MeToo movement and is one of the women to accuse Harvey Weinstein of rape.
Weinstein has pleaded not guilty to six felony sex crimes — two counts of predatory sexual assault, two counts of rape, one first-degree criminal sex act charge and one criminal sex act.
The charges stem from allegations from three women, according to court documents. None of the charges currently against Weinstein stem from Argento’s accusations.
Weinstein has denied all allegations of “nonconsensual sexual activity,” and he’s remained free after posting $1 million bail in cash.
The charges against Weinstein came nine months after The New Yorker and The New York Times published accounts from several women accusing him of various forms of sexual misconduct.