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Joshua Bassett says he was sexually abused as a child by ‘a much older man’

Gary Grimes December 7, 2021
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Joshua Bassett attends Nickelodeon's Kids' Choice Awards at Barker Hangar on March 13, 2021 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Amy Sussman/KCA2021/Getty Images for Nickelodeon)

High School Musical: The Musical: The Series star Joshua Bassett has said he was sexually abused as a child.

The 20-year-old singer and actor spoke to GQ to promote his three new songs, which debuted on streaming services last week (3 December).

One of the songs, entitled “Set Me Free”, details Bassett’s experience of trying to process a trauma from his past.

“I experienced sexual abuse a lot in my childhood,” Bassett explained, through tears.

“I didn’t remember that until last year, which is pretty insane. 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.”

Bassett goes on to say he hopes the song can be “an anthem for me and the sort of people who’ve held pain and power over me my whole life”.

I’ve been runnin’ away, I’ve been facin’ my fears / Tell my mama I’m okay while I’m holdin’ back tears,” Bassett sings on ‘Set Me Free”.

“You’ve taken so much from me, but you don’t get to take all of me,” he sings in the chorus. The proceeds earned from all three new songs will be donated to mental health organizations, Bassett confirmed.

The star, who gained global attention earlier this year as the suspected subject of his ex-girlfriend Olivia Rodrigo’s smash hit single ‘drivers license’, also revealed plans to launch a podcast series of “heavy talks” on which he says he will explore the topic of his sexual abuse further.

Bassett said he hopes it will be “the podcast that I wish I had when I was a kid.”

“Hopefully [it will] help people who are experiencing that,” he added.

The performer famously came out as queer earlier this year in a video in which he called Harry Styles “hot”. In August he told Attitude magazine that he experienced homophobia for the first time after revealing his sexuality to the world.

“This was the first time where I was subjected to a lot of homophobia,” he said.

“Seeing that put things into perspective, of how far along we aren’t yet – I thought we were a lot further on than we are.

“People can hate me forever and say the nastiest thing possible, but it will not change a thing, because you need to stand tall and face those people as an advocate for all the people without a voice.”

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