CNN has held back all past episodes featuring actress Asia Argento from Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, reported Buzzfeed News. The decision was made in the light of allegations that the Italian actress sexually assaulted actor and musician Jimmy Bennett when he was 17, a CNN spokesperson told the publication, adding that the episodes will not be aired “until further notice”.
Argento had appeared in two episodes and had directed a third for the Emmy award-winning travel and food show. Bourdain, 61, committed suicide in a France hotel room on June 8, while the eleventh season was being filmed. Argento was his partner at the time.
On August 19, The New York Times reported that Argento had paid Bennett $380,000 in April after he informed her of his intent to sue for sexual assault. Bennett has alleged that Argento kissed him before having intercourse with him in a hotel room in California in 2013, when Bennett was 17, which is one year short of the age of consent in that state. Argento was 37 at the time.
Argento denied Bennett’s allegations, but said that she had paid off Bennett with Bourdain’s help in order to stop him from harassing them. The report, however, has cast a shadow over Argento’s involvement in the Me Too movement against sexual harassment. Argento was among the first actresses to publicly accuse Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault. The allegations sparked an industry-wide movement decrying institutionalised abuse and demanding gender equality.