Jimmy Bennett, the 22-year old actor and musician who accused Asia Argento of sexually assaulting him when he was 17 years old, sat down for his first televised interview on Sunday.
While speaking with host and journalist Massimo Gilletti on the Italian program “Non e l’Arena” on Sunday night, Bennett recounted the alleged assault in detail, the Daily Beast reports. Bennett met with Argento in a hotel room that day in 2013 to discuss working together, according to ABC News. Although Bennett initially arrived to the meeting with a male companion, he said that the man ultimately left him there alone because Argento made him feel “unwelcome,” ABC News reports. Once they were alone in the room, Argento offered him champagne and then sexually assaulted him, Bennett said, according to ABC News. Argento denied both claims when asked by the outlet.
“It all happened very fast,” Bennett said of the encounter, according to ABC News.
Bennett told Gilletti that Argento started kissing him “longer and longer,” the Daily Beast reports.
“It started to feel to me that it was less of just a friendly thing and that she was doing more,” he said. “She was looking to do something else. It was more than just a kiss.”
“After the kisses started getting longer and it started with her placing her hands in different ways,” he said later. “Following that was when she pushed me onto the bed and took my pants off and undid my belt.”
Bennett also confirmed having taken the now-public photo of himself and Argento seemingly lying shirtless in bed together, and stated that Argento had asked him to take the pic, and “several others,” “immediately following” the alleged assault.
Host Gilletti seemed skeptical that Bennett was “traumatized” by the alleged assault, according to the Daily Beast. Bennett at one point remarked, “I was worried about coming in front of an audience and being accused of not being sincere about the violence against me. After this, that’s why I chose the silent route. I was right.”
Prior to Bennett’s TV appearance, Argento’s attorney reportedly sent Bennett a letter stating that, should he make any “slanderous, defamatory, or untruthful statements,” they would take legal action against him, according to TMZ.
Bennett has largely kept silent since his accusations against Argento went public in an extensive feature in The New York Times last month. The piece alleged that Argento had come to a financial agreement with Bennett after Bennett accused her of sexually assaulting him when he was underage. Argento denied the accusations a day later, but text message conversations published by TMZ — and confirmed as authentic by Argento’s former friends, fellow #MeToo activist Rose McGowan and model Rain Dove — show Argento seemingly admitting to having sex with Bennett and claiming to have received unsolicited nude photos of the boy since he was 12 years old.
In his first statement following the public allegations, Bennett explained that he did not initially share his story because he 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,” he said. “I didn’t think that people would understand the event that took place from the eyes of a teenage boy.”
Argento has since accused Bennett of being the perpetrator of a sex crime, alleging that he “sexually attacked” her that day in the hotel room.
[Photo: Jimmy Bennett attends the premiere party of Disney XD’s “Lab Rats: Elite Force” on March 2, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. By Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images; Asia Argento attends the 2018 Women In The World Summit at Lincoln Center on April 12, 2018 in New York City. By Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images]
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