Model Beverly Johnson has become the latest woman to speak out publicly against Bill Cosby, telling Vanity Fair the comedian tried to drug her in the mid-’80s. Johnson, the first black woman to appear on the cover of U.S. Vogue, met Cosby while trying out for a small part on The Cosby Show. What she claims happened next follows a familiar pattern: Cosby invited her to his house, where he gave her career advice and asked her if she could act drunk. (The role she was auditioning for was that of a pregnant woman.) He then insisted she drink a cappuccino from his home espresso machine. She says she knew it was drugged within two sips.
“As I felt my body go completely limp, my brain switched into automatic-survival mode,” Johnson writes. “That meant making sure Cosby understood that I knew exactly what was happening at that very moment.” She remembers repeatedly calling the comedian “a motherfucker,” until he dragged her out of his house and hailed her a cab.
Johnson says she kept quiet about the incident not only because she feared incurring Cosby’s wrath, but also because she didn’t want to tear down a prominent black role model. “Black men have enough enemies out there already,” she remembers telling herself, “they certainly don’t need someone like you … fanning the flames.” But now, after more than a dozen women have come forward with similar stories, Johnson says she realized her qualms were misfounded: “The current attack on African-American men has absolutely nothing at all to do with Bill Cosby. He brought this on himself.”