Asia Argento to Be Cut From 'X Factor Italy' If Assault Claim Is 'Confirmed,' Producers Say
Sky Italia and FreemantleMedia Italia said that if the Times story was "confirmed" then "we would have no choice but to take note of it and put an end to the collaboration with Asia Argento."
Following a New York Times story on Aug. 19 claiming that Asia Argento paid a $380,000 settlement for a sexual assault claim, the producers of a show that the actress had been working on are weighing action. Sky Italia and FreemantleMedia Italia, producers of singing competition X Factor Italy, where Argento is a judge, released a statement saying Argento was always chosen for her music and television talents, but if the Times story "were to be confirmed" then the show would have no choice but to cut ties with Argento.
The new season is scheduled to start airing in Sept. 6 on Sky Uno. The show is one of Sky Italia's biggest hits, and the finale of season 11 was the most-viewed X Factor Italy live show ever, with high expectations in place for the upcoming year. She described her return to Italian television as an important comeback after being "slut-shamed for months on primetime TV and front page of newspapers," after she spoke out about being a victim of disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein. Previously, Argento had starred on several RAI programs.
Argento has been working on X Factor since earlier this summer and many of the early episodes involving auditions and bootcamps were expected to showcase the Italian star. Close allies of Argento have tweeted their beliefs that there is more to the story than what was published in the Times. After initially saying that her "heart is broken," Rose McGowan tweeted that "None of us know the truth of the situation and I'm sure more will be revealed."
Another Weinstein survivor Rosanna Arquette was more direct, tweeting, "The timing of this story is suspect."
"Stop until you hear all the facts this is a set up," she continued. "Extortion is a problem."
The Times also reported that Bennett originally asked for $3.5 million in damages and alluded to his own financial problems, including his own parents withholding his earnings to the tune of $1.5 million. It also claimed he kept in touch with Argento after the alleged assault. Documents from the lawsuit were anonymously leaked to the Times.
Producers of the show stated that they do not plan on making any independent investigation, but they have make it clear they would like to get the full story before making any final decision. Argento has yet to give comment on the Times story.
The X Factor Italy producers' statement reads in full:
"Sky Italia and FremantleMedia Italia have read today with great attention and in astonishment the news regarding Asia Argento published by the New York Times.
It should be made clear that Sky Italia and Fremantle did not pick Asia Argento as a judge of X Factor Italy for her commitment to the #Metoo campaign, nor for her personal stances, but rather - as it has always been the case when it came to choose the judges of X Factor Italy - for her musical skills and ability to manage a television role in a show like this.
Skills and abilities widely proven during the show auditions, recorded in recent weeks, as the large audience attending them could easily confirm.
That said, 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."
This article originally appeared on The Hollywood Reporter.