LOS ANGELES: Actor Jimmy Bennett has issued his first public statement since news surfaced that actress Asia Argento had agreed to pay him $380,000 to settle a sexual abuse claim. He says he 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. I didn't think that people would understand the event that took place from the eyes of a teenage boy," Bennett said, reported variety.com.
He allegedly settled his accusation of sexual assault against leading #MeToo advocate Asia Argento for a sum of $380,000.
The "Orphan" actor said that he was underage when the incident took place and he tried to seek justice in a way that made sense to him at that time.
"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 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, California. Argento has denied the allegations and said she will do what it takes to defend herself.
She said it was her then boyfriend Anthony Bourdain - who committed suicide in June - who put forward the money to Bennett in order for the couple to avoid 'further intrusion' in their lives.
The actress had insisted that she and Bennett were connected "by friendship only", which also ended when he unexpectedly asked for a lot of money from her.
Bennett has resolved not to be silent anymore.
"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," he added.
Argento and Bennett co-starred in the 2004 film "The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things", which Argento also wrote and directed.