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‘I’m No Longer Afraid’: 35 Women Tell Their Stories About Being Assaulted by Bill Cosby, and the Culture That Wouldn’t Listen

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Unresolved Traumahttp://nymag.com/thecut/2015/07/bill-cosbys-accusers-speak-out.html?mid=fb-share-thecut

By Noreen Malone and Portfolio By Amanda Demme

More has changed in the past few years for women who allege rape than in all the decades since the women’s movement began. Consider the evidence of October 2014, when an audience member at a Hannibal Buress show in Philadelphia uploaded a clip of the comedian talking about Bill Cosby: “He gets on TV, ‘Pull your pants up, black people … I can talk down to you because I had a successful sitcom.’ Yeah, but you rape women, Bill Cosby, so turn the crazy down a couple notches … I guess I want to just at least make it weird for you to watch Cosby Show reruns. Dude’s image, for the most part, it’s fucking public Teflon image. I’ve done this bit onstage and people think I’m making it up … That shit is upsetting.” The bit went viral swiftly, with irreversible, calamitous consequences for Cosby’s reputation.

Perhaps the most shocking thing wasn’t that Buress had called Cosby a rapist; it was that the world had actually heard him. A decade earlier, 14 women had accused Cosby of rape. In 2005, a former basketball star named Andrea Constand, who met Cosby when she was working in the athletic department at Temple University, where he served on the board of trustees, alleged to authorities that he had drugged her to a state of semi-consciousness and then groped and digitally penetrated her. After her allegations were made public, a California lawyer named Tamara Green appeared on the Today show and said that, 30 years earlier, Cosby had drugged and assaulted her as well. Eventually, 12 Jane Does signed up to tell their own stories of being assaulted by Cosby in support of Constand’s case. Several of them eventually made their names public. But they were met, mostly, with skepticism, threats, and attacks on their character.
In Cosby’s deposition for the Constand case, revealed to the public just last week, the comedian admitted pursuing sex with young women with the aid of Quaaludes, which can render a person functionally immobile. “I used them,” he said, “the same as a person would say, ‘Have a drink.’ ” He asked a modeling agent to connect him with young women who were new in town and “financially not doing well.” In the deposition, Cosby seemed confident that his behavior did not constitute rape; he apparently saw little difference between buying someone dinner in pursuit of sex and drugging them to reach the same goal. As for consent, he said, “I think that I’m a pretty decent reader of people and their emotions in these romantic sexual things.” If these women agreed to meet up, his deposition suggested, he felt that he had a right to them. And part of what took the accusations against Cosby so long to surface is that this belief extended to many of the women themselves (as well as the staff and lawyers and friends and others who helped keep the incidents secret).

Months after his depositions, Cosby settled the case with Constand. The accusations quickly faded from the public’s memory, if they registered at all. No one wanted to believe the TV dad in a cardigan was capable of such things, and so they didn’t. The National Enquirer had planned to run a big story detailing one of the women’s accounts, but the magazine pulled it when Cosby agreed to give them a two-page exclusive telling his side (essentially that these were instances that had been “misinterpreted”). People ran a story alleging that several of the women had taken money in exchange for their silence, implying that this was nothing more than an elaborate shakedown. Cosby’s career rolled on: In 2014 alone, there was a stand-up special, plans for a new family comedy on NBC, and a high-profile biography by Mark Whitaker that glossed over the accusations.

The group of women Cosby allegedly assaulted functions almost as a longitudinal study — both for how an individual woman, on her own, deals with such trauma over the decades and for how the culture at large has grappled with rape over the same time period. In the ’60s, when the first alleged assault by Cosby occurred, rape was considered to be something violent committed by a stranger; acquaintance rape didn’t register as such, even for the women experiencing it. A few of Cosby’s accusers claim that he molested or raped them multiple times; one remained in his orbit, in and out of a drugged state, for years. In the ’70s and ’80s, campus movements like Take Back the Night and “No Means No” helped raise awareness of the reality that 80 to 90 percent of victims know their attacker. Still, the culture of silence and shame lingered, especially when the men accused had any kind of status. The first assumption was that women who accused famous men were after money or attention. As Cosby allegedly told some of his victims: No one would believe you. So why speak up?

Read her story
PATRICIA LEARY STEUER,59. Alleged assaults: 1978 and 1980.
But among younger women, and particularly online, there is a strong sense now that speaking up is the only thing to do, that a woman claiming her own victimhood is more powerful than any other weapon in the fight against rape. Emma Sulkowicz, carrying her mattress around Columbia in a performance-art protest of her alleged rape, is an extreme practitioner of this idea. This is a generation that’s been radicalized, in just the past few years, by horrific examples of rape and reactions to rape — like the 2012 Steubenville incident, in which high-school football players brutally violated a passed-out teenage girl at a party and photographed and braggingly circulated the evidence. That same year, when a 14-year-old Missouri cheerleader accused a popular older boy at her school of sexual assault, her classmates shamed her on social media and the family’s house was burned down. The whole world watched online. How could this kind of thing still be happening? These cases felt unignorable, unforgettable, Old Testament biblical. Would anyone have believed the girls, or cared, had the evidence not been digitizable? And: How could you be a young woman and not care deeply about trying to fix this?

This generation will probably be further galvanized by the allegations that a national cultural icon may have been allowed to drug and rape women for decades, with no repercussions. But these younger women have given something to Cosby’s accusers as well: a model for how to speak up, and a megaphone in the form of social media.

Facebook and Twitter, the forums that helped circulate the Buress clip, were full of rage at Cosby’s perceived cruelty. Barbara Bowman, who’d come forward during the Constand case, wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post about her frustration that no one had believed her for all those years. Three days after Bowman’s op-ed, another woman, Joan Tarshis, came forward to say Cosby had drugged and raped her in 1969. By the end of November, 16 more women had come forward. Cosby resigned from Temple’s board of trustees and sought monetary damages from one of his accusers; he also told “Page Six” that he wanted “the black media to uphold the standards of excellence in journalism [and] go in with a neutral mind.” (Cosby, through representatives, has consistently denied any wrongdoing, and hasn’t been charged with any crimes. Emails to four of his lawyers and press reps went unanswered, although his team has begun a media tour to deny that his admission of offering Quaaludes to women was tantamount to admitting he’d raped anyone.) By February, there were another 12 accusers. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler joked about it at the Golden Globes: “Sleeping Beauty just thought she was getting coffee with Bill Cosby.” Attorney Gloria Allred got involved, representing more than a dozen of the women. Even President Obama said it was clear to him: “If you give a woman — or a man, for that matter — without his or her knowledge a drug, and then have sex with that person without consent, that’s rape.”

There are now 46 women who have come forward publicly to accuse Cosby of rape or sexual assault; the 35 women here are the accusers who were willing to be photographed and interviewed by New York. The group, at present, ranges in age from early 20s to 80 and includes supermodels Beverly Johnson and Janice Dickinson alongside waitresses and Playboy bunnies and journalists and a host of women who formerly worked in show business. Many of the women say they know of others still out there who’ve chosen to remain silent.

MARCELLA TATE,
67. Alleged assault: 1975.

LINDA JOY TRAITZ,
64. Alleged assault: 1969.

LINDA KIRKPATRICK,
58. Alleged assault: 1981.

LINDA BROWN,
67. Alleged assault: 1969.

KAYA THOMPSON,
44. Alleged assault: late 1980s.

TAMARA GREEN.
Alleged assault: early 1970s.
This project began six months ago, when we started contacting the then-30 women who had publicly claimed Cosby assaulted them, and it snowballed in the same way that the initial accusations did: First two women signed on, then others heard about it and joined in, and so on. Just a few days before the story was published, we photographed the final two women, bringing our total to 35. “I’m no longer afraid,” said Chelan Lasha, who came forward late last year to say that Cosby had drugged her when she was 17. “I feel more powerful than him.”

Accompanying this photo essay is a compilation of the interviews with these women, a record of trauma and survival — the memories that remain of the decades-old incidents. All 35 were interviewed separately, and yet their stories have remarkable similarities, in everything from their descriptions of the incidents to the way they felt in the aftermath. Each story is awful in its own right. But the horror is multiplied by the sheer volume of seeing them together, reading them together, considering their shared experience. The women have found solace in their number — discovering that they hadn’t been alone, that there were others out there who believed them implicitly, with whom they didn’t need to be afraid of sharing the darkest details of their lives. They are scattered all over the country — ten different states are represented — and most of them had no contact with their fellow accusers until recently. But since reading about each other’s stories in the news, or finding one another on social media, or meeting in person at the photo shoots arranged by New York, many of the women have forged a bond. It is, as Tarshis calls it, “a sorrowful sisterhood.” ■

Testimony
THE INCIDENTS

“My agent said we’ve been contacted by a really, really big person in the entertainment industry who’s interested in mentoring promising young talent. I find out it’s Bill Cosby. I had the understanding I was going to be receiving private acting coaching from him. This was the opportunity of a lifetime. A driver would pick me up, my agent was paying for it. That made it all very, very professional. The door opens, and there stands Cosby. He’s in his sweats and very casual, very friendly. I had a monologue prepared. He seemed unimpressed. He said, ‘Let’s try a cold read,’ so he pulls out a script. The scene was set in a bar; the character was someone who was inebriated. He poured a glass of white wine. And he said, use this as a prop — now, that means you’re going to have to sip on it, of course. I really don’t remember much, except waking up in his bedroom. He was naked, and he was forcing himself into my mouth.” —Heidi Thomas

“I was introduced to Bill Cosby through my modeling agent. She said that Cosby wanted to see me. Which I thought was obviously for the show. I was told there was going to be a dinner, and when I got there, no one ever arrived. He asked me if I wanted a glass of wine; I took a few sips. It had a horrible taste. And I started not feeling well. He helped me up by my underarms with both hands. He walked me into the next room, where there was a mirror on the wall, and he told me to look at myself. Something was wrong with me. And then he took my right hand, and he put it behind my back. I remember seeing semen on the floor. And I felt some liquid on my hand. That was when I knew something sexual was going on.” —Jewel Allison

“He took my roommate and me out to dinner. It was this new hip steak restaurant on the strip near the Whiskey a Go Go called Sneaky Pete’s. He was chatting her up and trying to charm her. And he reached across and put a pill next to my wineglass and said, ‘Here, this will make you feel better,’ and he gave her one. I wasn’t really thinking. My son had recently died. I thought, Great, me feel better? You bet. So I took the pill and washed it down with some red wine. And then he reached across and put another pill in my mouth and gave her one. Just after I took the second pill, my face was, like, face-in-plate syndrome, and I just said, ‘I wanna go home.’ He said he would drive us home. We went up this elevator. I sat down, and lay my head back, just fighting nausea. I looked around and he was sitting next to my roommate on the love seat with this very predatory look on his face. She was completely unconscious. I could hear the words in my head, but I couldn’t form words with my mouth, because I was so drugged out. He got up and came over, and he sat down and unzipped his fly. He had me give him oral sex, and then he stood me up, turned me over, did me doggy style, and walked out. Just as he got to the door, I said, ‘How do we get out of here, how do we get home?’ And he said, ‘Call a cab.’ ” —Victoria Valentino

SUNNI WELLES,66. Alleged assaults: mid-1960s.

THERESE SERIGNESE,58. Alleged assault: 1976.

BETH FERRIER,56. Alleged assault: mid-1980s.

CARLA FERRIGNO. Alleged assault: 1967.
“Bill had been a friend. I had had dinner with his wife on one or two different occasions, I had worked with him, I had known him for many, many years, and he never made a pass at me. So when this happened to me, I was really, really shocked. I just couldn’t understand what was wrong with him. Had he lost his mind? When I came out of the bathroom, he said to me, ‘Okay, come on, let’s go. They’re waiting for us.’ He was behaving like a person that I had never met before in my life.” —Kathy McKee

“At 17, my agent introduced me to Bill Cosby, who was going to mentor me and take me to the next level of my career. Over the course of the next year, I was drugged half the time when I was with him and would come out of a delusional experience going, ‘Whoa, what was that?’ He would say, ‘Well, I needed to undress you and wash your clothes because you got drunk and made a fool of yourself.’ Do you remember the Jaycee Dugard story? She pretty much could have climbed over the fence any time she wanted to but was just so broken down and couldn’t think straight. I felt like a prisoner; I felt I was kidnapped and hiding in plain sight. I could have walked down any street of Manhattan at any time and said, ‘I’m being raped and drugged by Bill Cosby,’ but who the hell would have believed me? Nobody, nobody. I was invited down to Atlantic City to see his show and had a very confusing night where I was completely drugged and my luggage was missing. When I called the concierge to find out where my luggage was, Cosby went ballistic. He slammed the phone down and said, ‘What the hell are you doing, letting the whole hotel know I have a 19-year-old girl in my hotel suite?’ The next morning, he summoned me down to his room and yelled at me that I needed to have discretion. He threw me down on the bed and he put his forearm under my throat. He straddled me, and he took his belt buckle off. The clanking of the belt buckle, I’ll never forget.” —Barbara Bowman

JANICE DICKINSON,60. Alleged assault: 1982.

“I had a terrible headache, and I said, ‘Bill, do you have some Tylenol? I have a mother of a headache.’ And he said to me, ‘I have something stronger.’ And I said, ‘You know I don’t do drugs.’ He said, ‘You’re one of my best friends. Would I hurt you?’ And I believed him. All I remember is taking the pill; I don’t remember going to bed. But I do remember waking up in a fog and opening my eyes, and I had no clothes on, and there was Bill’s friend totally naked in bed with me. He started to laugh and smile, and he said, ‘Oh, did you have a good time?’ I said, ‘What the fuck happened? Do you always eff a dead person?’ I got my clothes on and I walked out. And Bill said, ‘Where are you going?’ I said, ‘What the eff did you give me?’ He said, ‘Oh, you had a bad headache, you were in so much pain. I gave you a Quaalude.’ I was hurt with Bill more than angry at his friend. Bill let him take advantage of me. That kills me. That’s why I know the stories of what he did to the other women are true, because if he didn’t have the respect for me, who was really a close friend, then he could do that to anybody he didn’t know very well.” —Joyce Emmons

LOUISA MORITZ,69. Alleged assault: 1971.

KACEY(name has been changed). Alleged assault: 1996.
THE AFTERMATH

“I told my supervisor at the Playboy Club what he did to me, and you know what she said to me? She said: ‘You do know that that’s Hefner’s best friend, right?’ I said, ‘Yes.’ She says to me: ‘Nobody’s going to believe you. I suggest you shut your mouth.’ ” —PJ Masten

“People often these days say, ‘Well, why didn’t you take it to the police?’ Andrea Constand went to the police in 2005 — how’d it work out for her? Not at all. In 2005, Bill Cosby still had control of the media. In 2015, we have social media. We can’t be disappeared. It’s online and can never go away.” —Tamara Green

CHELAN LASHA,46. Alleged assault: 1986.
“I had a few moments where I tried to come forward. But I was just too scared, and I also had the extra burden of not really wanting to take an African-American man down.” —Jewel Allison

“I didn’t realize that I had been raped. Back then, rape was done in an alleyway with somebody holding a knife to your throat that you didn’t know. There was no date rape back then. I just knew that something horrible had happened. But I couldn’t put a name to it. The difference between this and that rape in the dark alley is that his face would be before me every week on TV. People would mention a joke that he said: ‘Wasn’t that funny?’ And all the while, my stomach would just be churning.” —Joan Tarshis

“In 1975, it wasn’t an issue that was even discussed. Rape was being beaten up in a park. I understood at the time that it was wrong, but I just internalized it and dealt with it and pushed it down, and it resided in a very private place. It affects your trust with other people.” —Marcella Tate

HELEN HAYES,
80. Alleged assault: 1973.

HEIDI THOMAS,
55. Alleged assault: 1984.

PJ MASTEN,
65. Alleged assault: 1979.

SARITA BUTTERFIELD,
59. Alleged assault: 1977.

JANICE BAKER-KINNEY,
57. Alleged assault: 1982.

AUTUMN BURNS,
68. Alleged assault: circa 1970.

“Survivors of rape have a very difficult time having intimate relationships. I was in my 20s. I could never have a real relationship. It was like a black, disgusting tumor—a secret tumor.” —PJ Masten

“When I see a Jell-O pudding, it comes flooding back. Bill Cosby, that encounter, that one time, played a major factor in the direction my life took, toward the dark side.” —Sammie Mays

“Eighteen is very young. It took me a long, long time to come to terms with the fact that it was him, it wasn’t me. Life has not been easy for me. I had addiction problems as I got older.” —Linda Joy Traitz

“People go, ‘Why haven’t you gotten over it?’ But you might as well ask a combat soldier why he doesn’t forget the Battle of Guadalcanal. There was someone trying to harm him, someone trying to kill him, and they never get over it, they just learn how to cope with it.” —Tamara Green

LILI BERNARD. Alleged assault: early 1990s.
THE AVALANCHE

“I read Barbara Bowman’s piece in the Washington Post, how no one believed her, and I said, ‘This is it. I have to say something now. I have to stand up and say, Yes. Somebody else does believe you, because it happened to me.’ It was sort of like we were yodeling in a canyon and set off an avalanche. I knew I wasn’t ever gonna receive any money. I certainly didn’t want to be remembered as the woman that Bill Cosby raped. But I just felt so vindicated that I wasn’t alone.” —Joan Tarshis

“How would it benefit any of us? It doesn’t. We’re telling the story because we can’t hold it inside anymore.” —Kathy McKee

“I came forward to offer my support as a witness. I knew my statute of limitations had run out. When only one or two women came out, a couple of years ago, they were ridiculed more. It’s hard to not believe the numbers now.” —Janice Baker-Kinney

BARBARA BOWMAN,
48. Alleged assaults: 1985–1987.

SAMMIE MAYS,
57. Alleged assault: 1987.

JOAN TARSHIS,
67. Alleged assault: 1969.

MARGIE SHAPIRO,
58. Alleged assault: 1975.

JOYCE EMMONS,
70. Alleged assault: circa 1979.

REBECCA LYNN NEAL,
60. Alleged assault: 1986.

“I went online one morning, just to check my email. The Yahoo page came up, and there was something about Cosby, this thing with Hannibal Buress. And all of a sudden, something just hit me. Anger. Son of a bitch! You know, a woman can be not believed for 30 years. But it takes one man? To make a joke about it? That fucking pissed me off so bad. Suddenly I’m thinking, Who do I contact?” —Victoria Valentino

“I have a friend who is a detective for a police department. She’s the one who pushed me to file a report. My husband was like, ‘No, I don’t want anybody to know, we don’t want to expose you, I don’t want people saying bad things.’ But my friend said, ‘You gotta do it for you.’ ” —Lise-Lotte Lublin

“I saw that there were a lot of negative responses being posted against Barbara Bowman and Joan Tarshis and Tamara Green and Andrea Constand, grouping them in a historical reference to claims that “white women” have made in the past, that weren’t truthful, about being raped by a black man. But unfortunately with this case, I knew that there was a very strong possibility that these women were telling the truth, because I had had my own negative experience with Bill Cosby. And so I just felt like, No, this can’t go in that direction.”—Jewel Allison

“The part of it I wasn’t prepared for was the onslaught of women that have been assaulted and them telling me their story because I told mine.” —Beverly Johnson

“I started getting private messages on Facebook from other former Bunnies: ‘He did me too, PJ. He got me too.’ There’s a couple of websites — ‘We believe the women’ — and Cosby sites that we all created. And we talk, all the survivors. We just had the photo shoot. And I said it was one of the greatest experiences I ever had. It was fun. We had great music, great food, we were all dancing and laughing, and yet in L.A., the L.A. group said it was so somber, and everybody was upset. And I said, ‘What, are you kidding? We were celebrating here in New York, baby.’ Our freedom, our freedom! Nothing macabre about that. We’re out.” —PJ Masten

KATHY MCKEE,66. Alleged assault: early 1970s.
“Listen, he was America’s favorite dad. I went into this thinking he was going to be my dad. To wake up half-dressed and raped by the man that said he was going to love me like a father? That’s pretty sick. It was hard for America to digest when this came out. And a lot of backlash and a lot denial and a lot of anger.” —Barbara Bowman

“I think his legacy is going to be similar to O.J.’s legacy. When you hear O.  J. Simpson’s name, you don’t think, Oh, great football player. That doesn’t come to mind first. I’m thinking it’s not going to be, Oh, great comedian. It’s going to be, Oh, serial rapist. And that will be our legacy.” —Joan Tarshis

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July 28, 2015 at 7:06 am

Jill Dillard Speaks Out: Jessa and I ‘Are Victims’ of Molestation

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http://www.people.com/article/jill-jessa-duggar-interview-molestation-brother-josh-fox-news-we-are-victims

BY CAITLIN KEATING @caitkeating 06/03/2015 AT 10:45 PM EDT

For a brief but emotional moment, Jessa Seewald and Jill Dillard spoke out on Wednesday night about the allegations that their brother, Josh, had molested five underage girls as a teen.

In an interview with Fox News journalist Megyn Kelly, the sisters identified themselves as two of of the girls Josh had molested, and admitted they were overwhelmed when they learned that their story had gone national.

“We are victims, they can’t do this to us,” Jill, 24, said of the attention focused on her and her family as she wiped tears from her eyes.

Her younger sister, Jessa, 22, added: “The system that was set up to protect kids, both those who make stupid mistakes or have problems like this in their life and the ones that are affected by those choices. It’s greatly failed.”

While Jessa admitted that what their brother did was “very wrong,” she wanted to speak up against people who are calling Josh a child molester, pedophile or rapist. “I’m like, that is so overboard and a lie really,” she said. “I mean, people get mad at me for saying that but I can say this because I was one of the victims.”

The sisters will be speaking more in a one-hour special of The Kelly File airing Friday at 9 p.m. ET on Fox News.

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June 4, 2015 at 9:52 am

Sheriff Thomas Hodgson Shares Insight Into Aaron Hernandez/ CNN Video

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A.H’s arrogance during the trial was obvious to all. In the opinion of most, he is a narcissist who keeps his swagger by being a Master manipulator and by compartmentalizing.

He knows how to use his charm to get whatever he wants, and will never take responsibility for what he’s done. He creates his own reality (calls Jail a training camp)- Texbook.

Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson, who oversaw the jail where Aaron Hernandez was housed during his trial, shares insights into his time behind bars.

http://www.cnn.com/videos/tv/2015/04/17/ctn-sheriff-thomas-hodgson-bristol-county-aaron-hernandez-trial.cnn

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Oscar Pistorius to receive new privileges in prison/ The Telegraph

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This article was originally posted on The Telegraph ( link below)

By Erin Conway-Smith, Johannesburg
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/oscar-pistorius/11416666/Oscar-Pistorius-to-receive-new-privileges-in-prison.html

Oscar Pistorius has been given new privileges in prison, including the right to wear jewellery, own a radio and have physical contact with visitors, as the double amputee sprinter serves a five-year sentence for killing his girlfriend.
Pistorius is said to have settled into life at Pretoria’s maximum security Kgosi Mampuru II prison, where he could serve just 10 months before being released to house arrest.
In October, Pistorius was convicted of culpable homicide in the death of Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day 2013, after mistaking her for an intruder and firing four bullets through a lavatory door.

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February 17, 2015 at 10:33 am

How Will We Remember Bill Cosby? / CNN Entertainment

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http://www.cnn.com/2014/12/08/showbiz/celebrity-news-gossip/bill-cosby-future/index.html?iid=article_sidebar

Don Lemon’s special, “The Cosby Show: A Legend Under Fire,” airs on CNN tonight at 9 ET.

(CNN) — It’s as if the other Bill Cosby never existed.

You remember the other Bill Cosby. For a long time, he was the only Bill Cosby.

He was a groundbreaking comedian, famed for his shaggy-dog storytelling on routines such as “Noah” and “To Russell, My Brother, Whom I Slept With.” He worked clean, even when other comedians went blue.

He was “television’s Jackie Robinson,” the first African-American to star in a dramatic role on TV, and he earned three Emmys for his work on “I Spy,” the series on which he broke the barrier.
Cosby accuser: ‘I want him to suffer’

He was a promoter of education and values through “Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids” (“if you’re not careful, you may learn something”) and his philanthropy. He was an amusing, trusted pitchman, known for Jell-O and Coca-Cola commercials. He was a beloved TV father, the patriarch of “The Cosby Show.”

He was wealthy; he was generous; he was admired.

Who is Bill Cosby now?

In recent weeks, the news has provided a steady drip-drip-drip of rape accusations against the 77-year-old comedian. At least 20 women have spoken out to various media outlets, accusing Cosby of sexual misconduct. Many of the accusations date back decades.

Bill Cosby facing litany of allegations

Cosby has lost concert bookings and had a proposed NBC show scuttled and a concert movie premiere postponed. TV Land yanked the “Cosby Show” reruns from its lineup. He’s cut ties with his beloved Temple University, where he served on the board. His star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame was defaced. Even the Navy revoked an honorary title granted Cosby in 2011.

It should be noted that Cosby has never faced a judge or jury, let alone been convicted, over the allegations. His camp has repeatedly and vigorously denied them.

It defies common sense that “so many people would have said nothing, done nothing, and made no reports to law enforcement or asserted civil claims if they thought they had been assaulted over a span of so many years,” said Cosby’s attorney, Martin D. Singer, in a written statement sent to CNN.

But it’s clear that many people have already tried Cosby in their minds.

“The court of public opinion has cost him all of his projects,” said Michael Bilello, who heads Centurion Strategies, a PR and crisis-management shop. “His inactions, his mishandling of PR, his legal maneuvering — those are characteristics you do not want to display, especially when you’re accused of rape.”

The suddenness of Cosby’s tumble reminds Bilello of the downfall of Penn State football coach Joe Paterno. For 50 years, Paterno was venerated as “Joe Pa,” a figure of such rectitude and honor that the college built a monument to him. Then, as the sexual abuse charges against his former assistant Jerry Sandusky accumulated, Paterno was accused of a cover-up and fired. He died two months later. His statue was later removed from campus.

“Cosby’s looking at the same sentence,” Bilello said. “He’s looking at this overshadowing everything he’s done simply because there is guilt by assumption.”

‘This story keeps just getting told’

Cosby is far from the first celebrity to be lowered, fairly or unfairly, from his pedestal.

In the 1920s, silent film star Fatty Arbuckle — one of the most influential comedians of his day, a mentor to Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton — was accused of rape and manslaughter in the case of an actress, Virginia Rappe, who had attended a party for Arbuckle.

The case was tried three times. The first two trials ended in hung juries. Arbuckle, then 35, was acquitted in the third — the jury even gave him a written apology — but the damage was done: His reputation was shattered, his films were temporarily banned, and he had to take a pseudonym to find work. He died while attempting a comeback in the early ’30s.

More recently, there is the case of Michael Jackson. In 2003, the singer was accused of child molestation, conspiracy and alcohol charges. Eighteen months later, a jury exonerated him. However, despite the court’s decision, allegations of sexual abuse followed Jackson right up to his death in 2009.

What makes the Cosby situation even more challenging is that there has been no day in court, says Syracuse popular culture professor Robert Thompson.

“There was a trial (in Michael Jackson’s case). Evidence was presented; process was gone through,” he said. “Here, this story keeps just getting told, and it keeps getting told with very little new information.”

In addition, Cosby is more than an entertainer, Thompson observes. He’s also been an educator and a moralist, using his fame to promote schooling and propriety.

In that respect, says Thompson, the fall of Cosby can be compared to that of evangelists Jimmy Swaggart and Jim Bakker, who were brought down by scandals in the late 1980s. Swaggart was defrocked by his denomination; Bakker was convicted of fraud and served time. Though both resumed ministries, neither has the power or following they did 30 years ago.

‘What do you say?’

However, those events all predated the social media age, which has kept Cosby’s situation on the front page when it conceivably could have vanished down the memory hole. A handful of accusers first went public almost 10 years ago, in 2005, after Cosby was named by a Temple University staffer, Andrea Constand, in a civil suit.

But it was a viral video by comedian Hannibal Buress that brought the Cosby story out of the shadows, and it was an attempt at creating memes — proposed by Cosby’s own Twitter account — that made it widespread.

It’s shaken up many who normally would be defending a man who they greatly respect. In fact, with a handful of exceptions — notably Jill Scott and Ben Vereen — Cosby has received little support among entertainers, though many of them are reserving judgment.

“I don’t know what to say. What do you say? I hope it’s not true. That’s all you can say. I really do,” Chris Rock told New York magazine. “I grew up on Cosby. I love Cosby, and I just hope it’s not true. It’s a weird year for comedy. We lost Robin (Williams), we lost Joan (Rivers), and we kind of lost Cosby.”

Cedric the Entertainer agreed. In an “Entertainment Tonight” interview on the red carpet for Rock’s movie “Top Five,” he expressed both admiration and sadness.

“We all grew up on him, and we know and respect him, not just as a comedian but for the things that he’s done outside of comedy, with the colleges and giving back (to the community) and spending his money where his mouth is,” he said. “But if the allegations have any truth to them, you want the truth to come out. You want justification for all the people. That’s all you can really say. It’s an unfortunate scenario.”

Jerry Seinfeld was brief.

“It’s sad and incomprehensible,” he said.

At least one comedy celebrity has become notably anti-Cosby. Judd Apatow, the writer and director of such films as “Knocked Up” and “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” attacked Cosby on his Twitter feed.

“I have numerous personal connections to this situation and the victims. I think he is a coward and clearly a sociopath,” Apatow wrote November 26.

It’s shaken up some journalists too, prompting many to offer mea culpas for not asking Cosby about the allegations.

Author Mark Whitaker, a former CNN managing editor who wrote a recent biography of Cosby, apologized for not including the accusations in his book. Ta-Nehisi Coates, who wrote a long piece grappling with Cosby’s conservatism in 2008, recently wrote that he should have included more than “a brief and limp mention” of the allegations. And The New York Times’ David Carr wrote that he should have asked Cosby about the accusations when interviewing him for an in-flight magazine.

Carr believes there’s no repairing the damage to Cosby’s reputation.

“For decades, entertainers have been able to maintain custody of their image, regardless of their conduct,” he concluded. “Those days are history. It doesn’t really matter now what the courts or the press do or decide. When enough evidence and pushback rears into view, a new apparatus takes over, one that is viral, relentless and not going to forgive or forget.”

‘He has to engage the public’

Is there any way for Cosby to restore his name?

Except for a short exchange with a South Florida publication, he has been silent on the matter — literally so, in the case of a response to NPR’s Scott Simon.

Bilello believes that Cosby is beyond the standard media apology tour, usually capped by a visit to Oprah Winfrey’s couch. Cosby has been hurt by social media, he says, and only social media will save him.

“If he wants to have his final chapter written the way he wants to be recalled, he has to engage the public,” he said. “Perhaps something social media-based, an open forum for maybe two hours, taking all questions — and having a moderator who’s not a celebrity.” A Reddit AMA, say, or a live chat.

On the other hand, 15 Minutes Public Relations’ Howard Bragman says Cosby should just stay quiet.

“He should shut the f*** up!” Bragman told TheWrap. “He should have his lawyers shut the f*** up and his PR people shut the f*** up.”

Cosby does run the risk of becoming a sad punchline, says Thompson. He’s seen it happen. When he shows “Roots” in his television history classes, his students burst out laughing when O.J. Simpson enters the picture.

“The entire mode of the show can’t proceed,” he said. “O.J. completely trumps everything else that’s been happening in the episode.”

Either way, says Thompson, Cosby is already fading into history. His college students know the comedian as “a grumpy guy” more familiar from parodies than from his actual work. After all, Dr. Cliff Huxtable, the fatherly Cosby of “The Cosby Show,” left the air in 1992 — more than two decades ago.

“Talk to a 20-year-old (about Cosby), and they think, ‘Oh, that’s really creepy, that old guy was hitting on women,’ but they don’t feel about Cliff Huxtable the way people a little older do,” he says.

Cosby doesn’t have to do anything, of course. For civil claims, the statute of limitations has expired for many of the claims about him, though it varies from state to state, observes Cornell law professor Cynthia G. Bowman. The statute of limitations also varies widely for criminal claims, she adds, but it would be “extremely difficult to reconstruct events,” never mind prove anything so many decades later.

Cosby also remains one of America’s wealthiest entertainers. He can return quietly to private life and enjoy the rest of his days in seclusion, if that’s what he desires. He has about two dozen concert appearances still scheduled, but after a May date in Atlanta, there’s nothing on his calendar.

Still, without a final word, Cosby goes from perceived hero to Greek-level tragedy. His circumstance brings to mind “The Natural’s” Roy Hobbs, the exalted fictional baseball star who, in Bernard Malamud’s novel, is left in ruins.

As the book ends, Hobbs buys a newspaper and reads of his demise.

“And there was also a statement by the baseball commissioner. ‘If this alleged report is true, that is the last of Roy Hobbs in organized baseball. He will be excluded from the game and all his records forever destroyed.’

“Roy handed the paper back to the kid.

” ‘Say it ain’t true, Roy.’

“When Roy looked into the boy’s eyes he wanted to say it wasn’t but couldn’t, and he lifted his hands to his face and wept many bitter tears.”

Written by protectivemothersallianceinternational

December 16, 2014 at 5:47 am

Bill Cosby Scandal: Florida Nurse Claims Star Drugged, Raped Her / The Wrap

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http://www.thewrap.com/bill-cosby-scandal-florida-nurse-claims-star-drugged-raped-her/

Therese Serignese accuses the comedian of sexually assaulting her in 1976

Another woman has come forward accusing Bill Cosby of sexual assault.

Therese Serignese has told multiple media outlets the iconic comedian drugged her and then raped her back in 1976, when she was just 19. The registered nurse is one of several women who have recently accused Cosby of assault.

“The next memory I have was I was in a bathroom and I was kind of bending forward and he was behind me having sex with me,” she told the HuffingtonPost on Thursday. “I was just there, thinking ‘I’m on drugs, I’m drugged.’ I felt drugged and I was being raped and it was kind of surreal. My frame of mind was that it would be over soon and I could just get out of there.”

Serignese said she told her mother about being raped and drugged, but she says her mom advised her to reach back out to Cosby. She followed her mother’s advice, contacted the comedian and he put her up in the penthouse of a nearby Hilton hotel for about three weeks. Serignese claims all that changed when she had a pregnancy scare, which led to Cosby kicking her out.

She claims the two of them kept in touch for over 20 years, which included another sexual encounter around 1985.

Also read: Bill Cosby Scandal: What Took So Long For Us to Notice?

“I just tried to forget it. I tried to block it out,” she said. “It doesn’t go away but you can make it silent. You can bury it. But all of these times when this stuff comes up, it does make me angry.”

Former actress, publicist and journalist Joan Tarshis also recently came forward with allegations of sexual assault at the hands of the television icon. She too was 19 when the crimes allegedly took place.

She told TheWrap she was speaking out now in part because she wanted “to help the public understand that he’s not Mr. Clean,” and also “because of the other women who were courageous enough before me to venture out and say what was going on.”

Also read: ‘The View’s’ Rosie O’Donnell vs. All of Her Co-Hosts Over Bill Cosby Rape Allegations (Video)

This follows alleged victim Barbara Bowman’s Washington Post essay asking why it took a viral video from comedian Hannibal Buress about this issue for it to resonate with the public.

Cosby had projects in the works with Netflix and NBC when the first of these allegations resurfaced, but both have now been canceled. Reruns of “The Cosby Show” have also been pulled from TV Land’s programming lineup.

Cosby was recently interviewed by both NPR and the Associated Press, but he side-stepped questions regarding allegations of rape, drugging women, and sexual assault.

Also read: Bill Cosby’s Lawyer Slams Janice Dickinson Again for Telling ‘Fabricated Lie’

Serignese shared her story on camera Wednesday with CBS Miami affiliate, WFOR-TV.

Written by protectivemothersallianceinternational

November 22, 2014 at 5:24 am

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