Actress and #MeToo activist Asia Argento accuses US director Rob Cohen of sex abuse

Actress Asia Argento (left) said she was assaulted by Rob Cohen (right) in 2022. PHOTO: AFP

ROME (AFP) - Leading #MeToo figure Asia Argento made fresh accusations of sexual abuse on Friday (Jan 22), directed at The Fast And The Furious (2001) director Rob Cohen.

The Italian actress, 45, was one of the first to speak out against sexual abuse in the film industry, helping to trigger the #MeToo campaign.

In 2017, she revealed that disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein had raped her in 1997 when she was 21.

In an interview published on Friday with Italian daily Corriere della Sera, Argento said she was also assaulted by Cohen, now 71, in 2002.

"It's the first time I'm talking about Cohen. He abused me making me drink GHB, he had a bottle of it," she said, referring to the date rape drug.

"At the time I really didn't know what it was. I woke up in the morning naked in his bed," she added.

Argento said the assault happened while she was filming Cohen's action movie xXx (2002), also starring Vin Diesel and Samuel L. Jackson.

Argento confirmed to AFP the contents of the Corriere interview.

"I can confirm that it is all true," she said in a short text message.

A spokesman for Cohen denied the allegations on Friday.

"Mr Cohen categorically denies Asia Argento's accusation of assault against him as absolutely false," the spokesman said in a statement to AFP.

"When they worked together, they had an excellent working relationship and Mr Cohen considered her a friend, so this claim dating back to 2002 is bewildering, especially given what has been reported about her in recent years."

Argento herself has been accused of sexual assault.

In 2018, American actor Jimmy Bennett, 24, accused Argento of sexually assaulting him in a California hotel when he was 17. The legal age of consent in California is 18.

After initially denying having sex with the young actor, she later retracted, although she denied Bennett's version of the events.

In response to news reports that Argento paid Bennett US$380,00 following his accusations, she said her late partner, chef and television celebrity Anthony Bourdain, gave money to the actor "to deal compassionately with Bennett's demand for (economic) help".

Argento's accusations are included in an upcoming autobiography, Anatomy Of A Wild Heart, due for release in Italy on Jan 26.

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