A week after being accused of sexually assaulting a 17-year-old and subsequently paying him a pricey $380,000 settlement, Asia Argento has been fired from her gig as a judge on X Factor Italy. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the actress and director was let go following the New York Timess report about the allegations. (Argento has denied the assault allegations, but confirmed that a settlement was paid to accuser Jimmy Bennett.)
Argento will, however, still appear in seven episodes of the reality-competition series, which were shot earlier in the summer. The shows latest season airs September 6. Per T.H.R., a new judge will be announced during a September 5 press conference in Milan, and will join the show on October 25, which is when its live segments begin taping.
Argento was announced as a new addition to the judges panel this past May, shortly after she delivered a rousing speech at the Cannes Film Festival, in which she repeated her accusation that Harvey Weinstein had raped her there and slammed the film industry for failing to deal with rampant sexual misconduct. (Weinstein has denied the allegations.) The actress and filmmaker became a heralded voice in the #MeToo chorus last fall, speaking openly and tweeting constantly about the industrys ongoing reckoning. She also spoke openly about how vital it was for her to appear on television in her home country, claiming that she had been “slut-shamed” by the Italian media after making her Weinstein claims. She has not yet responded to news of X Factor firing her.
This is the second professional hit Argentos taken after the assault claims became publicized. Just a few days before being fired, Argento dropped out of curating the Dutch music festival Le Guess Who? The festivals organizers released a statement about the decision, saying “due to the volatile nature of the accusations surrounding Ms. Argento, she has chosen to withdraw from her curatorship of this years edition, while these issues remain open.”
Per the New York Times report, Argento was accused of sexually assaulting actor and musician Bennett in a hotel room in 2013. Argento was 37 at the time. Bennett was 17. The age of consent in California is 18. She later paid him $380,000 to keep the allegations private. On Tuesday, Argento released a statement denying the sexual assault allegations, additionally claiming that the settlement had been paid by her late partner, Anthony Bourdain, who wanted to help her keep the matter quiet.
Bennett has since released a statement of his own, standing behind his claims and saying his “trauma resurfaced” after Argento emerged as a vocal figure of the #MeToo movement. “I choose to move forward, no longer in silence,” he wrote.
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