The first black supermodel to cover American Vogue and Italian Elle magazines has spoken up against Bill Cosby, claiming that the sitcom-father and comedian drugged her during an audition to appear on The Cosby Show.
This afternoon, Vanity Fair published a first-person essay written by Beverly Johnson, alleging that Bill Cosby offered to help with her acting career, and slipped something in her drink when she attended an audition at his home. It seemed “like part of a perfectly laid out plan, a way to make me feel secure with him at all times,” she said in the deeply personal account.
Johnson, who had enjoyed a booming modeling career was in the midst of a bitter divorce from her husband and was looking to break into acting. After attending a taping of The Cosby Show, Cosby himself invited her to come to his home at a later time to audition for the part of a pregnant woman.
She describes the evening as this:
“After the meal, we walked upstairs to a huge living area of his home that featured a massive bar. A huge brass espresso contraption took up half the counter. At the time, it seemed rare for someone to have such a machine in his home for personal use.
Cosby said he wanted to see how I handled various scenes, so he suggested that I pretend to be drunk. (When did a pregnant woman ever appear drunk on The Cosby Show? Probably never, but I went with it.)
As I readied myself to be the best drunk I could be, he offered me a cappuccino from the espresso machine. I told him I didn’t drink coffee that late in the afternoon because it made getting to sleep at night more difficult. He wouldn’t let it go. He insisted that his espresso machine was the best model on the market and promised I’d never tasted a cappuccino quite like this one.
It’s nuts, I know, but it felt oddly inappropriate arguing with Bill Cosby so I took a few sips of the coffee just to appease him.
Now let me explain this: I was a top model during the 70s, a period when drugs flowed at parties and photo shoots like bottled water at a health spa. I’d had my fun and experimented with my fair share of mood enhancers. I knew by the second sip of the drink Cosby had given me that I’d been drugged—and drugged good.”
As she began to feel the effects of the drugs, she began insulting Cosby and making sure he “understood that I knew exactly what was happening at that very moment.”
She went on to explain that she upset him enough that he sent her home:
What happened next is somewhat cloudy for me because the drug was in fuller play by that time. I recall his seething anger at my tirade and then him grabbing me by my left arm hard and yanking all 110 pounds of me down a bunch of stairs as my high heels clicked and clacked on every step. I feared my neck was going to break with the force he was using to pull me down those stairs.
It was still late afternoon and the sun hadn’t completely gone down yet. When we reached the front door, he pulled me outside of the brownstone and then, with his hand still tightly clenched around my arm, stood in the middle of the street waving down taxis.
When one stopped, Cosby opened the door, shoved me into it and slammed the door behind me without ever saying a word. I somehow managed to tell the driver my address and before blacking out, I looked at the cabbie and asked, as if he knew: “Did I really just call Bill Cosby ‘a motherfucker’?”
For those that claim that many of the women coming forward with rape claims against the comedian are just fishing for their next 15 minutes of fame, or lack credibility, I ask you to read the entire piece and ask yourself what a woman needs to say to be considered “credible” in the eyes of the public.
Rape culture (a culture in which male-perpetrated sexual violence against women is trivialized, normalized and even eroticized,) is very real and pervasive in our everyday lives.
Need a more tangible example? How about when men can say things like this and get tons of likes and retweets?
Excusing these accusations against a celebrity even though there’ve been multiple reports over the years, does nothing but perpetuate the . If no one is willing to question Bill Cosby’s role in these alleged sexual assaults, then what does that say about the value of women in our society?
Seems to say We’re not worth much. We need to stop making excuses and start asking questions.