35 Bill Cosby Accusers Cover New York Magazine In Arresting Piece

July 27, 2015  |  
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It’s one thing to hear a number and try to conceptualize it in your head, but it’s another to see that number represented with actual people. New York magazine showed us this with their July- August cover.

It features 35 of the 49 women who accused Bill Cosby of either drugging or raping them over the past four decades.

New York interviewed these women, collecting each of their stories in video, text and audio format.

In an essay accompanying the interviews, Noreen Malone explained how Bill Cosby and his accusers have illuminated the issues centered around rape culture.

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. […] 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?

You can read and listen to some of the stories on the following pages.

Kaya Thompson auditioned for a role on “The Cosby Show.”

I looked at him as a father figure,” she says. However, uneasiness began to creep into Thompson’s relationship with Cosby, she says. She tried to break off contact with the comedian, but in her last confrontation with him, Cosby forced himself on her. She came forward publicly in March 2015, although she had been a Jane Doe in the Andrea Constand lawsuit.

“He knew I was pretty much broken down. He pointed to a bottle of Lubriderm and told me to get it. I gave him a hand job. I went to leave, and, completely unsolicited, he gave me $700.”

Barbara Bowman, the woman who initially came out after Hannibal Buress’ now famous comedy routine.

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.

Chelan Lasha 

Lasha met Cosby in Las Vegas in 1986. The 17-year-old high-school student worked at the Hilton Las Vegas but wanted to pursue a modeling career, so her stepmother sent a letter and a photo of Lasha to the comedian. Cosby called Lasha’s family, inviting her and her grandmother to his show, also at the Hilton. Cosby asked Lasha up to his suite, where he promised to introduce her to an agent from the Ford Modeling Agency. In his room, Cosby handed Lasha a blue pill — he said it was an antihistamine for her cold — and a double shot of Amaretto. Cosby asked her to put on a hotel robe and wet her hair to prepare for the modeling agent’s arrival. Lasha says someone came to the room and snapped a few photos, but quickly left. Alone again with Cosby, Lasha says the comedian led her to the bedroom and gave her another shot of Amaretto. She lay down, and then he climbed in bed beside her. She remembers him humping her leg, grunting. Then she blacked out. She woke up more than 13 hours later. Cosby stood above her and clapped his hands, shouting, “Daddy says wake up.” He handed her $1,500 and told her to buy something nice for herself and for her grandmother. She came forward in December 2014. “I used to fear for my life because of the type of influence that he had. And I would cry all the time, all the time. After that, I didn’t know who to trust and who not to trust. I have nightmares. I wouldn’t let my children watch The Cosby Show because I would cry.”

PJ Masten explains how a female supervisor responded when she told her what Cosby had done.

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.’

Lili Bernard
Cosby started mentoring Bernard before she guest-starred on The Cosby Show in the early 1990s. “I looked upon him as a father figure,” she says. “He often said to me, ‘You’re one of my kids, Bernard.’” Later, Cosby drugged her drink, and raped her. During their last contact, on The Cosby Show set in 1992, he told her, “As far as I’m concerned, Bernard, you’re dead. Do you hear me? You’re dead. You don’t exist.” Afterward, she became suicidal. She came forward in May 2015. “For the last 23-plus years I’ve been living with a tremendous sense of fear. Being able to relinquish that fear was freeing for me, and the only reason I was able to do that was so many other women had done it before me, and I felt safe.”

Tamara Green explains why many of the women didn’t go to the police earlier.

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.

 

Jewel Alison 

I had a few moments where I tried to come forward. I’ve picked up the phone more than once over the course of two decades. This is before the women started coming forward in large numbers. But I was just too scared, and I also had the extra burden of not really wanting to take an African-American man down. I’ve always been very closely involved in the black community. And for me to come forward and basically destroy this very positive image of, as few as we have, of African-American men in America, it was just too difficult to do at that time. 

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Victoria Valentino, 72, a former Playboy bunny, was allegedly assaulted by Bill Cosby in 1969. Valentino was dining with her roommate at their usual joint, Café Figaro, where Cosby happened to be part owner. He knew that Valentino’s 6-year-old son had recently died, and he told Valentino’s friend that he thought she could use some cheering up. "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 wine glass and said, ‘Here, this will make you feel better,’ and he gave her one. I wasn’t really thinking. 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 loveseat 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." Tap the photo to hear Victoria Valentino tell her story, and watch her video interview at nymag.com/cosby-women.

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Lise-Lotte Lublin
I was unaware of what Cosby had done until 25 years later. That should have protected me. If a doctor performs surgery on you and leaves a sponge in your body, and then you have detrimental stuff 25 years later and somebody opens you up and finds the sponge, you didn’t know it existed. They exposed it. And that’s what happened in my situation.

Helen Gumpel 

It was never a secret. I told people. I even told a big columnist, a gossip columnist, but to tell you the truth, at that time, no one wanted to attack Bill Cosby. He was the No. 1 comedian in the world. He was a massive money-maker, and who would believe someone with no power — a woman with no power?”

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