Jimmy Bennett, the young actor who accused Asia Argento of sexual assault, has now explained his silence over their alleged encounter.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Bennett has released a statement addressing the situation, saying that he "chose to handle it in private with the person who wronged me."
"My trauma resurfaced as she came out as a victim herself," he continued, referencing Argento's claims that she was sexually assaulted by disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. "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," Bennett, who is now 22 years old, went on to say.
"At the time I believed there was still a stigma to being in the situation as a male in our society," he added. "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," Bennett asserted. "I would like to move past this event in my life, and today I choose to move forward, no longer in silence."
"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," he also stated, citing what gave him the courage to tell his story.
More recently, it was reported that text messages and photos emerged that support Bennett's claims and the LAPD is said to be investigating.
The news first came to light when it was recently revealed that in November 2017 Argento agreed to settle a lawsuit by paying Bennett over $300,000, a fact that she claims her deceased boyfriend — celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain — was responsible for.
Argento has also denied that she was ever involved with Bennett, saying that she was "deeply shocked and hurt having read the news that is absolutely false," adding, "I have never had any sexual relationship with Bennett." She did however, appear with him in the 2004 film The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things.
"We are confident in the accuracy of our reporting, which was based on verified documents and multiple sources," said a New York Times spokesperson, defending the outlets initial reporting on the situation. "It is worth noting that Ms. Argento, her lawyer and agent were contacted repeatedly and given four days to respond to the story."
At this time, Argento does not appear to have responded to Bennett's newly released statement.