Actor and #MeToo leader Asia Argento accuses "Fast and Furious" director Rob Cohen of sexual assault

Cohen has previously been accused of sexual assault and abuse by two other women, including his eldest daughter

By Ashlie D. Stevens

Food Editor

Published January 25, 2021 2:55PM (EST)

Asia Argento (Getty/Loic Venance)
Asia Argento (Getty/Loic Venance)

Italian actor and director Asia Argento has accused director Rob Cohen of sexually abusing her while she was filming the Cohen-directed "xXx," a 2002 action movie that also starred Vin Diesel and Samuel L. Jackson. As Variety reports, Argento told the Italian newspaper Il Corriere della Sera that "[Cohen] abused me, making me drink GHB, he had a bottle of it." 

GHB, or gamma-hydroxybutyrate, is a fast-acting anaesthetic that has a history of being used in date rape. 

"At the time, I really didn't know what it was. I woke up in the morning naked in his bed," Argento told the newspaper. She confirmed the accusations to Variety in a text message on Sunday. She also said that a more detailed account of the events involving Cohen, who is also known for directing "The Fast and the Furious," will appear in her upcoming memoir "Anatomy of a Wild Heart," which will be out in Italy on Tuesday. 

Cohen has been accused of sexual assault and abuse before. In 2019, his eldest child, Valkyrie Weather, accused him of molesting her as a child.

"When I was very young, Rob used my body for his own sexual gratification," Weather wrote in a public Facebook post. "My mother witnessed one of the assaults when I was between two and two and a half years old, and has since confirmed what she saw."

Cohen's first wife, Diana Mitzner, confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter that she witnessed the incident, while Cohen maintains that the accusations are "categorically false." Several months later, an anonymous accuser — called "Jane" by The Huffington Post — alleged to the publication that the filmmaker raped her in 2015, and that she "found herself regaining consciousness in Cohen's hotel room, naked, while the director sexually assaulted her." 

In response to a detailed list of questions from the Huffington Post regarding the incident, Cohen's lawyer Martin Singer sent a 13-page letter denying any wrongdoing

"The proposed Story is an outrageous defamatory hit piece, making extraordinarily offensive assertions that my client engaged in heinous sexual misconduct, criminal wrongdoing, and other inappropriate behavior, which are vehemently disputed and denied by my client," Singer wrote. 

According to Variety, knowledge of these incidents prompted Argento to come forward. A representative for Cohen told the Agence France-Presse on Friday that the accusations against Cohen were "absolutely false." 

Argento became a leading figure in the #MeToo movement when she spoke out against disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein in Ronan Farrow's bombshell New Yorker piece "From Aggressive Overtures to Sexual Assault: Harvey Weinstein's Accusers Tell Their Stories." Subsequently, Argento was accused of sexual assault by the U.S.-based actor Jimmy Bennett, who alleges that she assaulted him in a California hotel room in 2013, when he was 17. Argento publicly countered that Bennett "sexually attacked" her, and that her late partner Anthony Bourdain had arranged to pay $380,000 as part of the settlement.

By Ashlie D. Stevens

Ashlie D. Stevens is Salon's food editor. She is also an award-winning radio producer, editor and features writer — with a special emphasis on food, culture and subculture. Her writing has appeared in and on The Atlantic, National Geographic’s “The Plate,” Eater, VICE, Slate, Salon, The Bitter Southerner and Chicago Magazine, while her audio work has appeared on NPR’s All Things Considered and Here & Now, as well as APM’s Marketplace. She is based in Chicago.

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Aggregate Asia Argento Fast And The Furious Me Too Movies Rob Cohen Sexual Assault