Cohen, School of Cinematic Arts deny daughters were admitted because of donation

Daily Trojan file photo

An article in The Hollywood Reporter Wednesday alleged that the School of Cinematic Arts admitted hedge fund manager Steven Cohen’s daughters in 2014 because of a $5 million donation made by Cohen’s foundation. However, according to spokespeople for Cohen and the School of Cinematic Arts, those allegations are false.

The claim came after an FBI investigation was unsealed Tuesday that found 50 celebrities and executives bribed coaches and faculty at universities including USC to ensure their children would be admitted.

The Steven and Alexandra Cohen Foundation made the $5 million donation in September 2014. According to a School of Cinematic Arts spokesperson, Cohen’s daughters were previously admitted in March 2014.

In a statement to the Daily Trojan, the School of Cinematic Arts said the school is grateful for financial gifts from any donors including alumni, parents and families that help students attend the school. The statement also said students’ admission to the school is not based on financial donations.

“The admission of any given student is not dependent on such gifts,” the statement read. “Currently, 70 to 80 percent of our students receive the benefit of some financial assistance. The narrative put forth in The Hollywood Reporter is simply untrue.”

In a statement, a spokesperson for the Cohens said the foundation’s donation did not help their children earn admission to USC.

“Steve and Alex have been generous philanthropists to a broad range of educational and cultural institutions,” the spokesperson said. “Their children earned admission to USC on the merits and any suggestion otherwise is false.”

The $5 million donation from the Cohen Foundation established a need-based scholarship to encourage students with financial struggles to pursue their interests in the film industry.

“These funds have and continue to afford numerous students the support they need to receive an education in the Cinematic Arts,” the statement from the School of Cinematic Arts read.