Joshua Bassett has opened up about experiencing “sexual abuse a lot” during his childhood and teenage years.
Content warning: This story may include topics that could make some readers feel uncomfortable.
In a profile interview with GQ, the High School Musical star detailed an evening in Spain when he “scream-cried for three and a half hours”.
Bassett then candidly discussed his experiences of “sexual abuse” publicly for the first time.
“I experienced sexual abuse a lot in my childhood,” he told GQ.
“I didn’t remember that until last year, which is pretty insane,” Bassett continued. “I buried it so far. And when I was a teen, a much older man routinely abused me, and I wasn’t able to see it for what it was at the time.”
The 20-year-old explained that one of his new songs, Set Me Free, details how he processed the ordeal.
“I’ve been runnin’ away, I’ve been facin’ my fears / Tell my mum I’m okay while I’m holdin’ back tears / It’s been a fuckin’ year,” he sings on the track.
He referred to it as “an anthem for me and the sort of people who’ve held pain and power over me my whole life.”
Bassett then added that: “You’ve taken so much from me, but you don’t get to take all of me.”
Despite how traumatising his experience was, he is hopeful that he can “help people who are experiencing that” by discussing the topic more on a “heavy talks” podcast in 2022.
He explained that he wants it to be “the podcast I wish I had when I was a kid.”
In an interview with Clevver News, he said: “I think he’s [Harry Styles] a nice guy, doesn’t say too much, but when he talks, it matters. He’s just cool.
“Who doesn’t think Harry Styles is cool? Also, he’s hot, you know? He’s very charming too.”
Bassett then joked: “This is also my coming out video, I guess.”
“My entire life people have told me my sexuality,” the star wrote.
“People have shamed me for things they know nothing about. I want to say thank you to those of you who stand for love and acceptance. Toxicity, hatred, and negativity say less about the subject, but say for more about those who spew it.
“It’s 2021. We are the generation of love and growth, it’s time we start acting like it. Whether you love me, hate me, or damn me to hell, I love you all the same. Love who you love shamelessly. It’s okay to still be figuring out who you are.
“Life’s too short to let ignorance and hatred win. I choose love.”
Galop is an LGBTQ+ charity there for those who have experienced abuse or have been the victim of a hate crime. They can be contacted Monday to Friday from 10am-4pm on 0207 7042040 or at HateCrime@galop.org.uk. You can find out more about them here.