A statement from Asia Argento about that N.Y. Times sexual assault-and-payoff story was posted this morning by New York‘s Ashar Ali. She denies she ever had any sexual encounter or relationship with Jimmy Bennett, claims that Bennett is/was a financially unstable shakedown artist and asserts that she and late boyfriend Anthony Bourdain (whom she names as “Antony” at one point in the statement) decided to pay Bennett off anyway to keep the allegedly spurious allegation out of the press.

Who gives an alleged shakedown artist over $300K? And what’s that final paragraph about? N.Y. Times columnist Bari Weiss doesn’t address it, but her general take on L’Affaire Argento is worth reading.