Former supermodel Beverly Johnson is opening up about an alleged frightening encounter with Bill Cosby.
Johnson — who was the first African American woman to appear on the cover of Vogue in 1974 and was named by the New York Times as one of the 20th century's most influential people in fashion — gets straight to the point with the title of her emotional first-person essay for Vanity Fair, "Bill Cosby Drugged Me. This Is My Story."
Johnson, 62, supposedly first met the actor, now 77, when she was called about auditioning for a small role on The Cosby Show in the mid-'80s. Cosby played an obstetrician and frequently used models as extras to portray pregnant women sitting in his office waiting room.
"It was a small part with one or two speaking lines at most, but I wanted in," she notes, adding that she was in a custody battle with her ex at the time and was looking for a big break. Although she was a top model during the '70s and '80s, her previous acting credits only included small parts in TV movies.
Cosby's handlers invited her to a taping to get a lay of the land, which was the first of three meetings with the actor before he allegedly tried to attack her. The second was at another taping in which she brought her daughter.
"Afterward, Cosby asked if I could meet him at his home that weekend to read for the part. … [He] suggested I bring her along, which really reeled me in," she recalls. Indeed, they visited Cosby at his New York brownstone that weekend.
"Looking back, that first invite from Cosby to his home seems like part of a perfectly laid out plan, a way to make me feel secure with him at all times. It worked like a charm," she continues. "Cosby suggested I come back to his house a few days later to read for the part. I agreed, and one late afternoon the following week I returned. His staff served a light dinner and Bill and I talked more about my plans for the future."
After the meal, Cosby proposed that they go upstairs to his living room for a cappucino, which is when the afternoon apparently took a turn.
"I told him I didn't drink coffee that late in the afternoon … [but] he insisted," she writes. "It’s nuts, I know, but it felt oddly inappropriate arguing with Bill Cosby so I took a few sips of the coffee just to appease him."
She says she quickly realized something was amiss: "I knew by the second sip of the drink Cosby had given me that I’d been drugged — and drugged good."
Cosby then supposedly called Beverly over, and as her body went limp, she switched into "survival mode."
"You are a mother–ker aren’t you?” she asked him. She repeated "motherf–ker" over and over which supposedly angered Cosby. He allegedly grabbed her by her arm — "I feared my neck was going to break with the force he was using to pull me down those stairs" — and threw her in a cab, sending her home.
After the shock wore off, Beverly wanted to confront Cosby so she apparently called him on the private number he gave her. Bill's wife answered and "politely" informed her that they were in bed together and that he wouldn't be coming to the phone.
"I didn’t call back the next day or any other day after that," Beverly writes. "At a certain moment it became clear that I would be fighting a losing battle with a powerful man so callous he not only drugged me, but he also gave me the number to the bedroom he shared with his wife."
Johnson says she was inspired to finally speak up because of all of the other women who have come forward to tell their stories, including close friend Janice Dickinson.
"How could I be any less brave?" she concludes.
Cosby's lawyers did not respond to Vanity Fair's request for comment.
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