Executives for The X Factor Italy will cut ties with Asia Argento if the sexual assault allegations made against her were “to be confirmed”.
The Italian actress and one of the most outspoken figures of the #MeToo movement against sexual abuse made headlines around the world on Monday (20Aug18) after The New York Times published a report alleging that she had agreed to pay $380,000 (£296,000) to former child actor and musician Jimmy Bennett, who once played her son in the 2004 movie, The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things, after he accused her of sexual assault.
The actress and director had signed on as a judge on the Italian version of the popular singing contest earlier this year, and the series was set to premiere on 6 September, but officials at Sky Italia and FremantleMedia Italia, the companies behind the show, insisted that they would drop Argento if the allegations were proven to be true.
They said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, “We want to be very clear: if the allegations reported by the New York Times today were to be confirmed, the issue would be absolutely inconsistent with Sky’s ethical principles and values and therefore – in full agreement with FremantleMedia – we would have no choice but to take note of it and put an end to the collaboration with Asia Argento.”
In their statement they also made clear that they chose Argento “for her musical skills and ability to manage a television role in a show like this” rather than her prominence in the #MeToo movement after she came forward with sexual assault allegations against producer Harvey Weinstein.
“Skills and abilities widely proven during the show auditions, recorded in recent weeks, as the large audience attending them could easily confirm,” they continued.
In legal documents obtained by the Times, Bennett claimed that the 42-year-old actress “performed oral sex” and “had intercourse” with him in a California hotel room in May 2013, when he was 17 and she was 37.
Argento nor her representatives have yet to respond to the reports, but fellow #MeToo figure Rose McGowan tweeted that her “heart is broken” over the allegations.