AceShowbiz - Former child actor Jimmy Bennett endured an uncomfortable grilling about the sexual assault he allegedly suffered at the hands of Asia Argento during live TV interview in her native Italy.
Bennett, who went public with his accusations last month, spoke at length about the reported attack for the first time in an appearance on newsman Massimo Gilletti's show on Sunday night, September 23, when he repeated claims suggesting the actress had plied him with alcohol and then seduced him during an alleged encounter at a California hotel in 2013. He was just 17 at the time - a year shy of California's legal age of consent - while Argento was 37.
During the testy interview, Gilletti directly asked the now-22-year-old if he had ejaculated, to which Bennett admitted he had, prompting the veteran presenter to declare, "It's difficult to believe a woman can rape a man. An act of sex that is complete (with ejaculation) cannot be rape."
Bennett, who was accompanied by his lawyer for the TV exclusive, was also questioned about a photo he had taken with Argento, in which they both appear to be lying topless in bed after purportedly having sex. He insisted Argento had asked him to take the selfie on his cell phone, but Gilletti called his demeanor in the picture into question as he cast further doubt on the assault claims.
"I'm sorry, but you don't seem upset, you don't seem in this picture to be traumatized," the news anchor said, according to The Daily Beast. "You don't look here like someone who was afraid."
Bennett eventually hit back at the presenter for publicly doubting his account of the story, insisting that's the kind of behavior which led him to keep quiet about the reported assault for years.
"I was worried about coming in front of an audience and being accused of not being sincere about the violence against me," he said. "After this, that's why I chose the silent route. I was right."
Asia has vehemently denied the allegations, insisting Bennett was the one who forced himself on her, although she did admit to agreeing to pay him off to avoid the unwanted media attention the scandal would garner.
Her attorney, Mark J. Heller, has since issued another firm dismissal in a statement to ABC News following Bennett's TV appearance.
Prior to the interview, Heller had also fired off a legal warning to Bennett's lawyer, warning him against making any "slanderous, defamatory or untruthful statements" about his client on air.
It's not known why Bennett chose to discuss the allegations in detail in Italy, where the age of sexual consent is just 14, as public support for the ongoing #MeToo movement against sexual misconduct has been considerably lacking.
Asia, who has been a leading voice in the anti-sexual harassment and assault campaign, also faced a backlash from her fellow Italians after becoming one of the first women to accuse disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein of rape last year (17).
Weinstein has denied all claims of non-consensual sex.