Jimmy Bennett broke his silence and commented on the allegations of sexual abuse that he made against actress Asia Argento Wednesday.
In a statement Bennett provided to The Hollywood Reporter he said, “I did not initially speak out about my story because I chose to handle it in private with the person who wronged me.”
“My trauma resurfaced as she came out as a victim herself. I have not made a public statement in the past days and hours because I was ashamed and afraid to be part of the public narrative,” Bennett stated.
A recent New York Times bombshell report revealed Bennett’s claim that Argento had sexually assaulted him during an encounter the two had in 2013 in a hotel room. At the time of the alleged encounter, Bennett was under the age of consent in California. Argento reportedly facilitated the payment of a $380,000 settlement to keep Bennett quiet about the claims in 2017.
“I was underage when the event took place,” Bennett also told THR, continuing, “and I tried to seek justice in a way that made sense to me at the time because I was not ready to deal with the ramifications of my story becoming public. At the time I believed there was still a stigma to being in the situation as a male in our society. I didn’t think that people would understand the event that took place from the eyes of a teenage boy.”
Argento initially publicly denied all of Bennett’s claims, stating that she “never had any sexual relationship” with him and that she paid him off with her late boyfriend Anthony Bourdain’s money to protect her reputation.
However, a TMZ report released Wednesday seemingly contradicts key parts of Argento’s denial.
According to the texts, a sexual encounter had in fact taken place, but in Argento’s telling, Bennett was the aggressive initiator.
TMZ uncovered a text Argento purportedly sent to a friend reading, “I had sex with him it felt weird. I didn’t know he was a minor until the shakedown letter … the horny kid jumped me.”
“It wasn’t raped but I was frozen. He was on top of me. After, he told me I had been his sexual fantasy since [he] was 12,” she wrote. TMZ also release a photo of Bennett and Argento in bed together.