Hannibal Buress went off during a standup set about Bill Cosby and his mostly unknown history of sexual assault. Those comments set off a media firestorm that has seen numerous women come out and publicly accuse Cosby of assaulting them, including a former Playboy Playmate and model-turned-reality star Janice Dickinson. Now, supermodel Beverly Johnson is the latest woman to come forward with a shocking, detailed account about getting drugged by Cosby at an audition for his hit show.
Back in the mid-'80s, Johnson, the first black woman to appear on the cover of Vogue, was invited by Cosby to his home to read for a small part on The Cosby Show. What Johnson describes happened next is appalling, and follows a similar pattern to previous accusations.
“Cosby said he wanted to see how I handled various scenes,” she wrote in an essay for Vanity Fair, “so he suggested that I pretend to be drunk,” despite the fact that she was auditioning for a role of a pregnant woman.
“As I readied myself to be the best drunk I could be, he offered me a cappuccino from the espresso machine. I told him I didn't drink coffee that late in the afternoon because it made getting to sleep at night more difficult. He wouldn't let it go. He insisted that his espresso machine was the best model on the market and promised I'd never tasted a cappuccino quite like this one.”
After taking a few sips of the coffee, Johnson said she knew she had been drugged immediately.
“I was a top model during the '70s, a period when drugs flowed at parties and photo shoots like bottled water at a health spa,” she explained in her essay. “I'd had my fun and experimented with my fair share of mood enhancers. I knew by the second sip of the drink Cosby had given me that I'd been drugged—and drugged good.”
Johnson somehow found it in her to go into what she called “automatic-survival mode,” verbally fighting back the drugs taking over her body, and calling him a “motherfucker” to the point where Cosby was pissed off enough to drag her out of his house and throw her into a taxi.
Johnson said she was inspired to finally speak up by the other women who have finally shared their stores after decades in silence, including her longtime friend Dickinson. She also mentioned being inspired by the bravery of the young children who she works with at the Barbara Sinatra Center for Abused Children. "Many are still afraid to speak up," Johnson wrote. "I couldn't sit back and watch the other women be vilified and shamed for something I knew was true."
This situation gets increasingly sad with every new allegation, and now with more and more women coming forward, including high profile people such as Johnson, it appears this is far from over.
UPDATE: Beverly Johnson appeared on The Today Show and spoke about her essay and the allegations she has brought against Cosby. She also touched on the difficult decision to come forward. "At the time I felt that it would hurt my career...he was a very powerful man," Johnson admits. She kept the secret even from family at first.
"I want to stand with these women that have come out," she told Today. "I want to have a platform for one out of six women who are sexually assaulted. This is bigger than Bill Cosby. This is about women and violence on women. This is about women finding their voice. I feel that Cosby took my power that evening and that I took my power back." Check out the full interview below.