Once again, Bill Cosby is being accused of sexual assault and rape. And once again, his representatives are dismissing the accusers as scammers who are looking for a payout and trying to convince us that all of these dozens of women who have accused the disgraced comedian of sexual violence are all lying on a perfectly innocent man.
This time, however, Cosby isn’t the only one in the hot seat. According to the Los Angeles Times, the suit, which was filed Monday in New york, also names as defendants NBCUniversal, Kaufman Astoria Studios, where The Cosby Show was filmed, and Carsey-Werner Television, which produced the show. The lawsuit alleges that these companies are “culpable and liable” and “knew and/or should have known Bill Cosby was sexually abusing, assaulting, and/or battering women, including on their premises, but did nothing to stop it,” as Vulture reported.
In fact, two of the women suing Cosby, Lili Bernard and Eden Tirl, were both actors on The Cosby Show. The other three plaintiffs are Jewel Gittens, Jennifer Thompson and Cindra Ladd, who had previously spoken out against Cosby and his alleged violent and predatory behavior, according to the Times.
All of the women had come forward with allegations against Cosby in the past.
In the lawsuit, Bernard said she first met Cosby around July 1990 on the set of his eponymous sitcom. Cosby claimed that he would mentor her career, but during one meeting, he “grabbed” her breasts, diaphragm, and rib cage without consent. Later that year, the suit claims, he allegedly drugged her drink and raped her in New Jersey. Bernard, who was “in denial” over the alleged incident, agreed at some point to travel to Las Vegas at Cosby’s request. Once again, Bernard alleges, he drugged and raped her while she was incapacitated and “smothered” her with a pillow when she woke — and said “no” — which made her lose consciousness again. Bernard alleged that Cosby sexually assaulted her again in 1991 at his home in Manhattan.
Tirl said she first met Cosby at Kaufman Astoria after a taping of The Cosby Show around 1989. Tirl’s agent told her the next morning that she was cast as a police officer even though she had never auditioned for this gig. Tirl said she repeatedly rebuffed Cosby’s attempts to be alone with her, and on more than one occasion had “escaped” his dressing room before he arrived. One day, when Tirl went to his dressing room, however, Cosby entered behind her and locked the door, the suit claims. Eventually, Cosby touched her breasts and forcibly pushed his genitals against her back, kissed her neck without consent, and then remarked, “This is all we were going to do. Make love. This is making love,” the suit claims. Gittens claimed that around the late 1980s, Cosby invited her to his home on multiple occasions for “mentoring,” and during one of these meetings in 1989 or 1990, he gave her a drugged glass of wine and “anally penetrated her with his finger.” Thompson alleged that Cosby forced her to touch his penis and masturbate him at his home around 1988. Ladd, who became friends with Cosby in 1969, believes he raped her after giving her a pill that he falsely claimed would help her headache.
These claims are similar to all of the sexual assault and rape claims made against Cosby. They all seem to either involve women being lured into what was supposed to be a professional environment only to be cornered by Cosby and abused, or they involve Cosby giving them drugs and assaulting them after they were incapacitated. Some people might call it a pattern. Cosby rep Andrew Wyatt only sees a pattern of women trying to squeeze money out of Cosby.
“These alleged accusers were once represented by [Attorney Gloria Allred] and were a part of a parade of accusers back in 2014 through 2016. As we have always stated, and now America can see, this isn’t about justice for victims of alleged sexual assault, it’s ALL ABOUT MONEY,” Wyatt told the Times via email. “We believe that the courts, as well as the court of public opinion, will follow the rules of law and relieve Mr. Cosby of these alleged accusations. Mr. Cosby continues to vehemently deny all allegations waged against him and looks forward to defending himself in court.”
It’s unclear where Wyatt is getting “and now America can see” from. Perhaps he’s pointing at Cosby’s 2018 sexual assault conviction being overturned last year. But “America” knows that happened due to a legal technicality, not because Cosby was even remotely proven innocent. Also, if that case is supposed to vindicate Cosby, the fact that jurors found that Cosby sexually assaulted a teenager at the Playboy Mansion in 1975 should do the opposite, should it not?
What we can say for certain is that anyone tasked with defending Cosby has their work cut out for them. And anyone defending his legacy has already lost.
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