Bill Cosby’s fall from national prominence continues as supermodel and actress Beverly Johnson has added her name to the list of woman who have accused Cosby of drugging or sexually assaulting them.
This is not the first time in his decades-long career that Cosby has been accused of violating a woman. However, the mounting allegations by more than a dozen different women over the course of the past four weeks have shed a bright light on a side of Cosby that is in drastic contrast to the iconic figure that won America’s hearts so long ago.
Beverly Johnson is a fashion icon who rose to international fashion prominence in the 1970s. She began her acting career that same decade and was one of the many Americans that was inspired by Cosby’s career and stature in American pop culture.
In her Vanity Fair article, Johnson recalls receiving a phone call from an agent to audition for a part on The Cosby Show and recounts her first meeting with Cosby. She remembered how he displayed a level of interest and concern for her personal life and career and seemed genuine in his willingness to help her. When Cosby invited her to his New York home to read for the part, she thought it was a demonstration of that willingness to help.
However, Johnson alleges it was all part of a “perfectly laid out plan.” Cosby treated Johnson to dinner in his home before inviting her to his living room to do a few acting exercises and the reading for the part. In his living room, he insisted she have a cappuccino made from his high-end espresso machine. Johnson declined the drink but Cosby continued to insist. When Johnson finally politely obliged, she says she knew by the second sip that she had been drugged. She confronted Cosby almost immediately and he angrily escorted her out of his home and placed her in a cab where Johnson said she blacked out from the drug.
Johnson struggled with whether to publicly confront Cosby. She feared what such a confrontation would mean for her personally and professionally. She also feared what it would mean for Black men in entertainment and Black men generally.
After seeing other recent accusers maligned by the media and the public, Johnson thought it was time to share her story. It is important to her to stand in support of, and in solidarity with, the women who have come forward as well as those who have not.
Johnson’s article can be read in full here.