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The eldest child of film director Rob Cohen (The Fast and the Furious, xXx) accused him of sexual assault in a public Facebook post published early on Feb. 21. “When I was very young, Rob used my body for his own sexual gratification,” wrote Valkyrie Weather, a transgender 32-year-old woman born Kyle Cohen. “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.”
In an interview on Thursday afternoon with The Hollywood Reporter, Weather elaborated on the accusation, explaining that she’d always been dimly aware that she’d been molested — “mostly what I remembered was the pain, the memory of the place and time, just being there, in the bath” — and that “it was so painful that I couldn’t verbalize it for a long time.” She says her mother, Cohen’s first wife, Diana Mitzner, disclosed the specific assailant in the midst of an emotional discussion in April 2017 which followed her transition.
Mitzner, in a separate interview, says to THR that she witnessed the alleged assault. When contacted by THR, Rob Cohen denied the claim, calling it “categorically untrue” and saying, “I hope and pray that one day, my child will come into the realization that no matter what anyone says or tries to convince her was the case when she was a child, it is both untrue and unimaginable.”
Transitioning “makes your really dissect every childhood moment, it stirs up a lot of old resentments and bitterness and lost opportunities,” Weather says. “It’s an incredibly introspective time for most people who come out as trans as adults. It was through that reopening of the past as an adult that my mom and I had a conversation.” Weather notes that her mother “thought she was sacrificing her relationship with me by telling me what she saw and she was, in a way, right. I said, ‘You saw this and you did nothing?’ I called her every name and I broke off contact and I didn’t talk to her again for a long time. We have recently taken steps to bridge that.”
Weather says that she confronted her father over e-mail several weeks after her mother’s disclosure, and the director eventually responded — an “unusual” length of time for him. “He basically said that my mother was psychotic and likened her to the Son of Sam killer in terms of the depth of her psychosis.”
Weather observes that she long suspected something was amiss, although she wasn’t able to pinpoint what. “I just thought I had untrustworthy memories,” she says. “I thought I was being fanciful.” Pop culture could be a minefield. “The one that really hit me, unexpectedly, was the Game of Thrones episode ‘Hold the Door.’ It wasn’t even a scene of sexual violence. It was the sight of Hodor as a little boy on the ground screaming, plunged into an immense amount of pain, a seizure.”
In her Facebook post, Weather also claimed Cohen took her to see sex workers in establishments in Thailand and the Czech Republic beginning when she was 13 years old. Speaking to THR, Weather reflects, “I demonstrated from a very early age that I was probably trans and queer, and that was not the child that my dad wanted. He wanted his son to be a straight, hyper-sexual, womanizing bastard like himself. I have my own theory that he thinks that he broke me when he molested me and he was somehow trying to undo that damage by hetero-sexualizing me from a very young age.”
The #MeToo movement, as well as more personal factors, have contributed to the timing of her public statement. “There’s very little [Cohen] can take from me that he hasn’t taken already,” she says. “I have very little money. If he wants the $400 I have, he can take it. If he wants to ruin my career as someone who works in a vintage clothing store in Savannah, Georgia, he can try to do that — although my boss has been pretty great about all of this. My lack of resources has been pretty freeing.”
In addition to helming the original 2001 movie The Fast and The Furious, which grossed $200 million worldwide and has turned into one of Universal’s biggest film franchises, Rob Cohen has also directed Sony’s Vin Diesel starrer xXx, as well as action thriller Stealth and Mummy sequel Tomb of the Dragon Emperor. His latest directorial effort, Entertainment Studios’ The Hurricane Heist, was released last year.
In a statement to THR, Rob Cohen responded to the claim from Weather. The director’s full note is below:
This is extremely painful. My beloved child has accused me of the most awful thing imaginable. Knowing that it is categorically untrue is painful enough. Having to write this and saying that my kid is not telling the truth is heart wrenching. I hope and pray that one day, my child will come into the realization that no matter what anyone says or tries to convince her was the case when she was a child, it is both untrue and unimaginable.
When Valkyrie’s (Kyle at the time) mom and I were getting divorced, she accused me during the custody court proceedings of many things, including a similar accusation to this one. After a very long trial, the court appointed psychiatrist awarded me full custody, in spite of these false accusations. Subsequently, my ex-wife appealed, and after another lengthy trial, I was awarded full custody once again. At this point Kyle was about 14 years old, and when asked about his preference on which parent to live with, he chose me.
Recently, my child chose to live her life authentically and transition to the woman she is today. When she wrote me about it, I told her that she has my continued love and support, as well as how beautiful and brave I think she is. I have kept these emails, as I have many things that have to do with my children. I will continue to support any son or daughter of mine and encourage them to be their authentic selves. I have never raped anyone. I know I have been married multiple times, but that is because I fall in love and I still believe in the institution of marriage and family. I am blessed to have wonderful children and as God is my witness, I have never harmed any of them. I may have not been a perfect husband. I am, as all of us are, a person and a parent who has made mistakes along the way, but never ever would I harm any of my children, or any child for that matter.
I am in great despair now. I am certain certain that my daughter Valkyrie is also hurting. I pray that she will come to know the truth, and that one day in the future, we can all be whole again.