Usually when a famous person loses their job after being accused of harassment and/or abuse, they might hide out until they think it’s safe to start a comeback. But Asia Argento – who was accused of sexually assaulting a then-17-year-old Jimmy Bennett when she was 37 – has decided that about six weeks away from X Factor Italy has been enough of a time-out, and she wants to go back.
About a week after the news broke that Asia had paid Jimmy $380,000 to keep his allegations to himself, producers of Italy’s version of X Factor started received complaints about Asia’s involvement in the show. Asia was hired as a judge for the show’s 12th season, which premiered last month. She’d already shot the first seven episodes worth of auditions, so X Factor producers decided to remove Asia from the live episodes.
On Sunday night, Asia appeared on the Italian talk show Non e l’Arena, and according to The Hollywood Reporter, she was asked about her hosting job with X Factor. Asia got into job interview mode and tried to re-book the gig.
“I would like to go back to X Factor, to do my job, because my children are proud of me, Italy wants me and I have not done anything that I’m accused of. The thing that hurt me most was being called ‘pedophile.’ I have children, and that is a stigma that I do not wish for anyone.”
Many pro-Asia viewers have contacted Fremantle Media (who produces X Factor), asking for her return. Even current X Factor Italy judge Federico Lucia (aka Fedez), who previously agreed with the decision to remove her from the show, is now defending her, saying “the situation has changed radically.”
Non e l’Arena host Massimo Giletti joined Asia in calling for Fremantle Media and X Factor to give her a second chance, saying it was an “absolute mistake” to fire her. Although to be fair, Massimo Giletti is one of Team Asia’s more enthusiastic cheerleaders; you might remember that Non e l’Arena is also the show in which Jimmy Bennett appeared and was mocked by the audience.
Producers of X Factor Italy haven’t said anything about bringing her back on the show, and they still haven’t named her replacement. So there is a chance she could go back. They could also be weighing out the ickiness of other statements she made during her appearance on Non e l’Arena. Like when she told Massimo Giletti that she saw Jimmy Bennett “like a lost son.” Or this:
“Then he began to kiss me and touch me in a way that was not that of a child with his mother, but that of a boy with crazy hormones. I laugh, but it’s also a traumatic thing. Seeing this boy who had always been like a child behave like this with me completely froze me.”
If X Factor does bring Asia back, they should be prepared to keep her away from any underage contestants. After all, Asia hates that narrative about her. My suggestion is to rig her X buzzer to automatically go off any time a contestant under the age of 18 takes the stage. Or maybe one of the cage balls from American Gladiators. Whatever keeps her away from minors.