Bill Cosby Admits Getting Sedatives To Use On Women For ‘Sex’. Here’s Your Need-To-Know

The much-beloved American TV star has a heapload of similarly creepy allegations against him, but denies all of the 'innuendoes'...


by Sophie Wilkinson |
Published on

Bill Cosby, to those of you born in the early ’90s who missed his work as the head of the Huxtable family, is a comedian and actor. His sitcom, The Cosby Show, which ran from 1984 until 1992, was considered groundbreaking. Not just because it featured an upper middle-class black family, but because it basically revived the sitcom, spawning loads more like it.

Bill played the happy, funny dad of the family, and so now, to many of us who grew up in front of this family-friendly viewing when we were just about walking, talking and learning what family was, the allegations of his abuse against 16 women are a bit of a surprise.

Not a shock, though – we’re a generation that hit adolesence when people were daubing ‘PAEDO’ on paediatricians’ doors, and know all too well from recent Yewtree revelations that just because someone’s a popular, friendly TV personality, does not mean they’re very nice behind closed doors at all.

As the story unfurls and more women come forward to allege abuse at the hands of Bill Cosby, here’s your need-to-know on the story:

Allegations about Bill Cosby sexually assaulting women have been going around for years. As well as a routine he used to do about spiking women’s drinks (yes, really), way back in 2004, a woman filed a lawsuit against him.

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In this lawsuit, she alleged that Cosby had drugged her (he gave her pills that he said were ‘herbal medication’ to help her relax), before she fell into a stupor and he sexually assaulted her. Witnesses in this case were to include 10 anonymous women who alleged Cosby had committed similar offences against them. The case was settled, and the woman who had brought it agreed to not talk about it anymore.

But in 2005, one of these witnesses came forward to tell Matt Lauer on The Today Show about her experience. Two other women (who were not on the original list) came forward to talk, respectively, to People and Philadelphia Magazine about their alleged assaults.

By 2006, one of the original witnesses, Barbara Bowman, waived her anonymity and came forward to tell her story, to say that in a hotel in Reno in 1986, ‘He took my hand and his hand over it, and he masturbated with his hand over my hand.’

Even though there were 13 women now alleging Cosby had sexually assaulted them from the mid-1960s to the mid-2000s, the story was pretty much ignored by the media – people didn’t seem to want to see Bill Cosby as a sex attacker, so the allegations just weren’t listened to.

In early 2014, after Dylan Farrow wrote an open letter to Woody Allen to accuse him of the abuse that her mother, Mia, had alleged against him in a sensational Vanity Fair profile in 1992, Gawker put up a story asking: ‘Who Wants To Remember Bill Cosby’s Multiple Sex-Assault Accusations?’

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The piece explained much of the above, suggesting that if we’re going to revisit serious allegations against much-beloved stars, it might be worth it to take a look at Cosby: ‘Bill Cosby is the creator of some of our most warming and affirming clichés. He is charming and iconic, one of the most culturally important and successful comedians ever, an elder statesman of the entertainment industry.

‘He’s also someone who has been accused by multiple women of drugging them and sexually assaulting them.’

Following this, comedian Hannibal Buress joked: ‘You raped women, Bill Cosby. So, brings you down a couple notches.’

For whatever reason, in early November, the social-media people behind Bill Cosby asked his fans to use a ‘meme generator’ on his website to create memes about him. The stunt backfired, big time. Using tools provided by his people, they created memes like ‘That feeling you get from being America’s most beloved serial rapist’ and ‘when you realize you got enough cash to pay off the victim.’ As memes tend to do, these spread.

This gave Barbara Bowman the chance to come forward with her allegations again. In a piece for The Washington Post, on November 14th, she wrote: ‘Bill Cosby raped me. Why did it take 30 years for people to believe my story?’ She said the 77-year-old had raped her in 1985 when she was just 17.

By 16 November, after Cosby cancelled appearances on chat shows, his lawyer, John P Schmitt, released this statement on his client’s website: ‘Over the last several weeks, decade-old, discredited allegations against Mr Cosby have resurfaced. The fact that they are being repeated does not make them true. Mr Cosby does not intend to dignify these allegations with any comment,’ he wrote.

‘He would like to thank all his fans for the outpouring of support and assure them that, at age 77, he is doing his best work. There will be no further statement from Mr Cosby or any of his representatives.’

But the next day, Johan Tarshis came forward to say that Cosby had raped her twice in 1969. Don Lemon, the interviewer, asked why she didn’t bite Cosby’s penis when he put it in her mouth. When asked why she hadn’t previously come forward, she said: ‘Who’s going to believe me? Bill Cosby, the all-American dad, the all-American husband… They’d probably think I was out to get something.’

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More allegations came in the form of former America’s Next Top Model judge Janice Dickinson, claiming he had raped her in 1982. Actress Louisa Moritz said he forced her to give him oral sex in 1971. Carla Ferrigno, married to actor Lou Ferrigno, said that he assaulted her in 1967, and that ‘no one had ever been that physically violent with me.’

A woman called Renita Chaney Hill told Philadlphia radio station KDKA that she lost consciousness with Cosby one night in the ’80s. SVU actress Michelle Hurd wrote on Facebook that Cosby had got her to do ‘weird acting exercises’ which involved him touching her. Former secretary Kristina Ruehli told that in 1965, she passed out with him only to awake with him forcing her to give him oral sex.

Netflix and ABC cancelled shows they had been planning for Cosby’s return to TV. At his gig in the Florida, he said backstage: ‘I know people are tired of me not saying anything, but a guy doesn’t have to answer innuendos. People should fact check.’

His lawyer Martin Singer also released this statement to AP: ‘The new, never-before-heard claims from women who have come forward in the past two weeks with unsubstantiated, fantastical stories about things they say occurred 30, 40, or even 50 years ago have escalated far past the point of absurdity.’

He added, seemingly unaware that, after the Jimmy Savile case and the ensuing Yewtree enquiry, a lot of people understand why women might not want to come forward about any allegations of abuse at the hands of powerful, famous men until decades have passed since the incident:

‘These brand-new claims about alleged decades-old events are becoming increasingly ridiculous, and it is completely illogical 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.’

Most recently? Frank Scotti, a facilities manager for NBC, the company which produced The Cosby Show, came forward to tell the New York Daily News the story of how he worked as Cosby’s ‘fixer’, paying women off and standing guard as the TV star would ‘interview’ young models for roles on his show.

*UPDATE as of 7 July 2015: *

**In July 2015, it was uncovered that 10 years previously, Bill Cosby had told a deposition – this means he was under oath – at the court case of one of the women he was alleged to have sexually assaulted, that he had bought drugs to give to her.

**The prosecuter had asked Cosby: ‘When you got the Quaaludes, was it in your mind that you were going to use these Quaaludes for young women that you wanted to have sex with?’

And he replied ‘yes’.

His lawyer objected to the next question, which was: ‘Did you ever give any of those young women the Quaaludes without their knowledge?’

But the fact Cosby admitted, in papers the Associated Press had to go to court to obtain, that he’d bought drugs to ‘use’ on women, means the case against him is stronger than ever.

We’ll be updating this story as it goes on.

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Female Judge Says Rape Conviction Low Because Women Drink

Follow Sophie on Twitter @sophwilkinson

Picture: Getty

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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