Jimmy Bennett Didn’t Speak Out Previously Because He Was “Ashamed and Afraid”

The actor has accused Asia Argento of sexual assault.

Jimmy Bennett
Actor Jimmy Bennett attends the special screening of 'A Girl Like Her' at The ArcLight Hollywood on March 27, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Paul Archuleta/Getty Images)
Paul Archuleta

Jimmy Bennett, the actor who has accused Asia Agrento of sexually assaulting him when he was 17, said that he did not previously speak out because he had been “ashamed and afraid,” reports The Hollywood Reporter. 

“I did not initially speak out about my story because I chose to handle it in private with the person who wronged me,” Bennett said in a statement to THR. “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.”

The statement comes days after The New York Times first published a report accusing Argento, an Italian actress, of secretly paying off Bennett after he accused her of sexually assaulting him when she was 37. Bennett is a former child actor who co-starred along Argento in one of her films. Argento allegedly paid off Bennett in November 2017, the month after she had accused Harvey Weinstein of sexually assaulting her in a bombshell New Yorker article. She was one of the first women to accuse Weinstein, and became a leading voice of the #MeToo movement.

“I was underage when the event took place,” continued Bennett, now 22, in his statement, “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 has denied that she ever had a sexual relationship with Bennett. She said that the reported $380,000 payoff was made by her late boyfriend, Anthony Bourdain.

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