One bit of fallout from the Woody Allen-Dylan Farrow story is that folks are starting to remember that Bill Cosby once was accused of sexual assault himself. The accusations emerged on the Today show, then were detailed in a 2006 Philly Mag story by Robert Huber—then quietly died, with Cosby’s folksy, funny image reasserting itself in the public mind. No more.
Gawker last week ran a piece covering the old ground of sex crime accusations against Cosby, including a reminder that Cosby settled a lawsuit in the case. Why did the crimes fade from memory?
Basically nobody wanted to live in a world where Bill Cosby was a sexual predator. It was too much to handle. The original Philadelphia Magazine story set off his accusers’ testimony in italicized interludes, between long sections about the more digestible controversies around Cosby’s lecture tour denouncing black cultural pathology. The usually unflinching Ta-Nehisi Coates, in an otherwise comprehensive 2008 Atlantic essay on the context and politics of Cosby’s performance as a public moral scold, dropped a sentence about the lawsuit settlement and its accompanying accusations into parentheses near the end.
Last week, Newsweek interviewed Tamara Green, one of 13 women who made the original accusations. Today, the magazine follows with Barbara Bowman, who offers ugly details about Cosby’s alleged behavior.
I was assaulted a number of times from age 18 to 19. Cosby would warn me before out-of-town trips, “You aren’t going to fight me this time, are you?”
Once in Reno, Nevada, he flew me out for a celebrity ski classic. He got me in a hotel room and fed me a lot of alcohol. He pinned me down in his suite on the couch, and he had me masturbate him. He really intimidated me, and I panicked.
The first time I was drugged for sure was in New York, when he invited me to dinner at his apartment. There was a chef, a butler; we had dinner, it was all fine. I had one glass of wine and then I blacked out. I woke up throwing up in the toilet, and he was standing over me, pulling my hair out of my face. I was wearing a white t-shirt that wasn’t mine, and he was in a white robe.
I think the final time I was assaulted by him was in Atlantic City. He took me there for a show and got me very drunk. Later, [the hotel] lost my luggage, so I was on the phone with the concierge and [Bill] had an absolute fit that I was on the phone, and went ballistic. The next morning, he summoned me into his room and started berating me and calling me names and yelling at me, telling me I had embarrassed him, and he threw me on the bed and blocked me with his elbow and got on top of me and started taking his pants off and I was screaming and crying and begging him to leave me alone and I fought so hard and I was screaming so loud that he got mad and threw me aside and got away from me, and that was it.
Newsweek says Cosby’s publicist has not yet responded to inquiries. The 76-year-old has a new show in the works for NBC.