Asia Argento’s sexual assault accuser gives first public statement: ‘My trauma resurfaced as she came out as a victim herself’

Actor Jimmy Bennett in 2011

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Actor Jimmy Bennett in 2011
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David Becker/Getty Images

  • Actor Jimmy Bennett, who accused Italian actress and MeToo advocate Asia Argento of sexually assaulting him when he was 17, released a statement to The Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday.
  • Bennett said, “My trauma resurfaced as she came out as a victim herself.”
  • Argento accused Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault last year.
  • The New York Times reported on Sunday that Argento paid off Bennett after an alleged 2013 sexual encounter.
  • Bennett said he “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.”

Actor Jimmy Bennett, who accused Italian actress and MeToo advocate Asia Argento of sexually assaulting him when he was 17 and she was 37, broke his silence in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday.

Bennett, who is now 22, 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.”

Argento was one of many women who claimed she was sexually assaulted by Harvey Weinstein in a report from The New Yorker last year, which was followed by dozens more accusations against the Hollywood film producer that spanned decades. Argento has continued to be one of the outspoken voices in the MeToo movement since.

The New York Times reported on Sunday, based on documents between Argento and Bennett’s attorneys, that Argento arranged a $380,000 payment to Bennett to keep silent about the alleged 2013 California hotel-room assault.

“I was underage when the event took place, 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,” Bennett said in his statement to THR. “At the time I believed there was still a stigma to being in the situation as a male in our society.”

On Wednesday, TMZ published a photo of Argento and Bennett lying topless in bed together. The Times reported that the documents it came into possession of included “a selfie dated May 9, 2013, of the two lying in bed” that was handed over to Argento as part of the agreement. It’s unclear if this is the same photo.

Bennett concluded the statement to THR by saying that he “would like to move past this event” and he has chosen “to move forward, no longer in silence.”

Read Bennett’s full statement below:

“Many brave women and men have spoken out about their own experiences during the #metoo movement, and I appreciate the bravery that it took for each and every one of them to take such a stand. 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. I was underage when the event took place, 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. I have had to overcome many adversities in my life, and this is another that I will deal with, in time. I would like to move past this event in my life, and today I choose to move forward, no longer in silence.”