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Jimmy Bennett, the actor and musician who has accused Asia Argento of sexual assault, gave his first TV interview on Sunday to the Italian show Non è lArena, (Outside the Arena) hosted by Italian journalist Massimo Giletti. In the lengthy interview, Bennett—who was accompanied by his lawyer, Gordon K. Sattro—maintained that in 2013, Argento sexually assaulted him in a hotel room in California. He was 17 at the time; she was 37. They had known each other for years at that point, with Bennetts lawyer noting that his client once characterized their connection as more of a “mother-son relationship.” That changed during the alleged assault, Bennett said in the Italian interview. At first, he alleged, he thought her kisses were a normal way of “showing her affection.” But then they went on longer and longer.

“She was trying to get somewhere else,” he said, before faltering. “Its hard for me to talk about this in front of strangers.”

Bennett then detailed what allegedly happened next, claiming that Argento put her hands all over his body, pushed him onto the bed, and took his pants off. Argento, for the record, has denied having a sexual relationship with Bennett. She has also claimed that the $380,000 settlement she gave Bennett was paid by her late partner, the TV star Anthony Bourdain, who died in June.

The interview was a difficult one for Bennett. It took place in Argentos native country and was conducted in front of a live studio audience. Giletti stood at a distance, on a stage, while Bennett and Sattro sat to the side. Behind Giletti was a massive photo of Argento, which Bennett had to see every time he answered a question and looked at the television host. There was also a language barrier: Giletti asked his questions in Italian, and Bennett and Sattro waited for translations via earpieces before answering the questions. In addition, per a translation from The New York Times, Giletti questioned whether men can even be sexually assaulted by women. “A womans violence against a man or a boy is technically difficult to understand,” he said, the Times noted. “Do you understand what I mean? A man has to take an active role, even if he is subjected to it.”

Giletti also questioned Bennett about the selfie he and Argento took after the alleged assault took place, which shows the pair shirtless in bed, arms around each other. The interviewer asked why the then-17-year-old didnt look upset in the photo; the audience applauded the question. As the interview progressed, Bennett expressed his discomfort with Gilettis questions.

“Even now Im afraid to answer any questions just because of the way that I feel like the interview has gone,” he said. He also addressed the photos of Argento that surrounded him. “I dont feel comfortable having Asias photo placed everywhere . . . its kind of hard to focus, Im not going to lie.”

In a subsequent interview with the Times, Sattro said the sit-down “was really challenging, but it was better than to have a softball interview. I dont see it as a bad thing. People are going to have to judge him for themselves. Jimmy thought, I wanted to say my piece.”

Since the first report about the alleged assault and subsequent settlement went public last month, Argentos professional career has taken a hit. She was dropped from X Factor Italy and also exited a gig curating a Dutch music festival. Former friends like Rose McGowan have also distanced themselves from her.

Her lawyer, Mark Jay Heller, has since claimed that Bennett was actually the aggressor in the encounter: “It was Asia that was attacked by Jimmy Bennett. Jimmy Bennett was the perpetrator and Asia Argento was the victim,” he said. Bennett, meanwhile, planned to file a police report with the L.A. County Sheriffs Department earlier this month, alleging sexual assault.

Get Vanity Fairs HWD NewsletterSign up for essential industry and award news from Hollywood.Full ScreenPhotos:Donald Trumps Vandalized and Abused Hollywood Star: A Brief History

The Beginning

In 2007, Donald Trump was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, joking that it was his favorite piece of real estate. A little less than a decade later, the star would be the source of unending controversy.Photo: By M. Tran/FilmMagic.Build That Wall

Build That Wall

Street artist Plastic Jesus erected a miniature border wall around the star on July 20, 2016.Photo: By David Livingston/Getty Images.Oh, Snap

Oh, Snap

Trumps name was crossed out and replaced by graffiti in September 2016, making the star a magnet for social-media-happy teens.Photo: By Nano Calvo/VWPics/Redux.A Smash

A Smash

In October 2016, a few weeks after the release of the infamous Access Hollywood tape, in which Trump can be heard bragging about groping women, the star was damaged overnight by a sledgehammer.Photo: By Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images.In Pieces

In Pieces

In July 2018, the star was smashed into smithereens with a pickax.Photo: By Reed Saxon/AP/REX/Shutterstock.You Shall Not Pass

You Shall Not Pass

After the smashing, the star was placed behind a barricade, as the West Hollywood City Council passed a resolution that called upon the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce to permanently remove Trump's star from Hollywood Boulevard.Photo: By Mario Tama/Getty Images.Behind Bars

Behind Bars

In September 2018, an anonymous Los Angeles street artist placed Trumps star in a tiny prison.Photo: By Plastic Jesus/Barcroft Images/Getty Images.PreviousNext

The Beginning

The Beginning

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In 2007, Donald Trump was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, joking that it was his favorite piece of real estate. A little less than a decade later, the star would be the source of unending controversy.By M. Tran/FilmMagic.

Build That Wall

Build That Wall

Street artist Plastic Jesus erected a miniature border wall around the star on July 20, 2016.By David Livingston/Getty Images.

Oh, Snap

Oh, Snap

Trumps name was crossed out and replaced by graffiti in September 2016, making the star a magnet for social-media-happy teens.By Nano Calvo/VWPics/Redux.

A Smash

A Smash

In October 2016, a few weeks after the release of the infamous Access Hollywood tape, in which Trump can be heard bragging about groping women, the star was damaged overnight by a sledgehammer.By Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images.

“F--k Trump 4 Ever”

“F–k Trump 4 Ever”

Even the wood covering the vandalized star was not safe from graffiti on October 31, 2016, days before the presidential election.By Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images.

11/8

11/8

Persistent vandalism led to the star being covered on November 8, 2016: Election Day.By RINGO CHIU/AFP/Getty Images.

Lying Down

Lying Down

After then-President-Elect Trump referred to an expansion of the U.S. nuclear arsenal, protestors held a die-in protest at the star on December 25, 2016.By DAVID MCNEW/AFP/Getty Images.

That One Sticks

That One Sticks

The star was covered in protest stickers in January 2017, shortly before Trumps inauguration.From PG/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images.

Royal Flush

Royal Flush

A golden toilet sporting the words “Take a Trump” was parked on the star May 6, 2017.By FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images.

Happy Pride!

Happy Pride!

Gay-pride stickers marked up the star during the Los Angeles Pride Festival on June 11, 2017—as a protest march, inspired by the Womens March, replacing the traditional pride parade.By MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images.

In Pieces

In Pieces

In July 2018, the star was smashed into smithereens with a pickax.By Reed Saxon/AP/REX/Shutterstock.

You Shall Not Pass

You Shall Not Pass

After the smashing, the star was placed behind a barricade, as the West Hollywood City Council passed a resolution that called upon the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce to permanently remove Trump's star from Hollywood Boulevard.By Mario Tama/Getty Images.

Behind Bars

Behind Bars

In September 2018, an anonymous Los Angeles street artist placed Trumps star in a tiny prison.By Plastic Jesus/Barcroft Images/Getty Images.

Yohana DestaYohana Desta is a Hollywood writer for VanityFair.com.

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Vanity Fair

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