Bill Cosby Facing Accusations of Sexually Inappropriate Behavior From More Than 40 Women
Three more women came forward publicly Wednesday to accuse Bill Cosby of sexually inappropriate behavior, creating yet another wave of allegations that the comedian abused his power by drugging and assaulting women.
One woman was a cocktail server at a jazz club in Redondo Beach, California, in the 1970s. She accused Cosby of stealing her panties after drugging her and assaulting her in her car while she was unconscious.
Another was a former model and actress who appeared as an extra on “The Cosby Show.” She said that Cosby told her she better sleep with him if she wanted to make it in the entertainment industry.
After years of silence, the women said allegations against Cosby from other women emboldened them to come forward.
“After 35 years of living with these shameful memories in secret, I was finally encouraged by all the other women who have recently told their stories,” said Sharon Van Ert, the former cocktail waitress.
Accusations from more than 40 women
More than 40 women have publicly accused Cosby of sexual misconduct over the past 40 years. The comedian has never been criminally charged and has vehemently denied wrongdoing. Cosby’s representatives declined to comment on the latest claims.
The latest allegations come amid news this week that three universities — Marquette, Fordham and Brown — stripped Cosby of honorary degrees.
“Mr. Cosby has nobody to blame but himself for his choices and his actions,” the women’s lawyer, Gloria Allred, said in a news conference Wednesday in her Los Angeles law office.
“There should be serious consequences for anyone who intentionally harms or endangers the health, safety or life of innocent women and girls.”
‘Everything became a blur’
Pamela Abeyta said she kept her story to herself for more than three decades because she felt she was to blame.
“I believed that it was my fault for putting myself in that position,” she told reporters Wednesday. “It took me many months to come forward because of the shame it might cause my family, but then I realized I am the victim and how much this has bothered me all of these years.”
Abeyta was 25 when she met Cosby’s producer in 1979 through a friend. She said she met him in an Orange County residence, hoping “it might lead to an opportunity with Playboy” because Cosby knew Hugh Hefner.
During the meeting, the producer called Cosby and said they would be on the “next flight to Las Vegas,” she said. Abeyta and the producer left for Las Vegas and met Cosby in a dressing room of the Las Vegas Hilton after he finished a show, she said.
Cosby brought her to the Elvis Presley suite in the hotel and showed her to her own room, she said. They went downstairs and he gave her $200 to spend on gambling while he mingled with others. She went back to the suite around 1 a.m.
After she awoke the next day, Cosby told her to buy an evening gown for the “champagne dinner” during his show. She spent $2,500 on clothing, shoes and a clutch bag for the event, charging it to his room, she said.
At the show, she remembers having food and drinks before blacking out.
“Everything became a blur,” she said. “I believe that someone put something in my drink.”
She remembers waking up twice in Cosby’s bed and seeing him once before allegedly blacking out again. She woke up the next day in her own room in the suite and left soon after, she said.
“I got up and left the hotel the next morning not even knowing what went on through the night. I barely remember how I got to the airport or even how I got home. I know I flew home, but it was all in a fog,” she said.
‘You owe me’
Former model and actress Lisa Christie said she was 18 when she met Cosby on the set of “The Cosby Show.” He chose her out of a line of models and took an interest in her career, she said.
The relationship lasted about two years, from 1987 to 1989, before he tried to pressure her into sex in a hotel room, she alleged. At the time, she says she considered him a “father figure.” Now, she said she believes he “waited” for her because he knew she was a virgin.
After college, she says was offered a co-host position for an NBC affiliate show “Wedding Magazine.” Cosby flew her to Chicago to see if she should pursue a career as a television actor. He also told her he wanted her to audition for his film “Ghost Dad.”
Under the pretense of an “acting exercise,” Cosby told her to close her eyes before leaning in to kiss her “like a boyfriend,” she said.
When she resisted, he told her “you owe me,” she said.
When she rebuffed his advances, he retreated to his room, telling her: “This is your last chance if you want to make it in this business, you have to sleep with me.”
Book on alleged sexual advances
She apparently described the ordeal in a book she released last year — but did not name Cosby. She read from the book at the news conference.
In that passage, Christie describes an incident with a man who propositioned her. She wrote that the man’s son died a week later. Cosby’s son died in 1997.
But at the news conference, she said Cosby propositioned her in the late 1980s.
‘I was one of the fortunate ones’
Allred said the book had a mistake, which she blamed on clumsy editing that will be corrected.
“I was one of the fortunate ones. Now I’m here to support all the victims,” Christie said during the news conference.
‘Mr. Cosby started getting fresh’
Sharon Van Ert was a cocktail server at Concerts by the Sea, a jazz club in Redondo Beach, when she says she met Cosby.
One night after a few drinks with co-workers and customers post-closing time, she said, Cosby walked her to her car.
She remembers feeling dizzy as she got into the car and Cosby asked if she was capable of driving home. She got in the driver’s seat to regain composure, she said, and Cosby got in the passenger’s seat.
“After a while, Mr. Cosby started getting fresh. He was touching me and rubbing my leg. The next thing I remember was waking up in my car, my head hanging down from the seat, alone,” she said in between tears.
“I knew I was drugged because I threw up and I never threw up or drank too much. I believe that he must have put something in my drink while we were closing up the place.”
When she got home, she realized she was missing her panties.
“I believe that Mr. Cosby took them after he assaulted me.”
The fallout from the controversy over the sex assault allegations against Cosby has been swift. Reruns of “The Cosby Show,” his landmark 1980s sitcom, have been pulled from the airwaves and other projects and tour dates have been scrapped.
Allred noted Wednesday that statute of limitations prevents Cosby from facing criminal charges. But a California judge ordered Cosby in August to give a sworn deposition in a civil suit alleging he sexually abused a teenage girl more than 40 years ago.
Cosby is scheduled to answer questions under oath from the accuser’s legal team on October 9.