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Asia Argento Accuser Jimmy Bennett Says He Feared ‘Stigma’ of Coming Forward

Jimmy Bennett has issued his first public statement since news surfaced on Sunday that actress Asia Argento had agreed to pay him $380,000 to settle a sexual abuse claim.

Bennett said he had sought to resolve the matter privately, and had not spoken out sooner, “because I was ashamed and afraid to be part of the public narrative.”

“At the time I believed there was still a stigma to being in the situation as a male in our society,” he said. “I didn’t think that people would understand the event that took place from the eyes of a teenage boy.”

Argento was one of the first accusers to come forward in October 2017 with allegations against Harvey Weinstein. Bennett said when Argento came out as a victim, it stirred memories of his own experience in 2013.

According to the initial report in the New York Times, Argento had sex with Bennett when he was 17 at a hotel room in Marina del Rey, Calif. Argento has denied the allegations and said she will do what it takes to defend herself.

Bennett said he would like to “move past this event in my life,” adding, “today I choose to move forward, no longer in silence.”

Argento directed Bennett and played his mom in the 2004 film “The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things” when he was 7 years old.

Read his full statement:

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.

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