Supermodel Beverly Johnson, the first African-American model to cover Vogue, is the latest woman to come forward in the Bill Cosby scandal. Johnson wrote a detailed account of for Vanity Fair where she revealed that Cosby drugged her while she auditioned for a guest role on the Cosby Show during the mid-80s. She is the second high-profile woman to accuse of Cosby of drugging her; supermodel Janice Dickinson was the first.
Johnson says that after visiting a taping to get the gist of the show, she met with Cosby and had a heart-to-heart not only about what she wanted from her career but also about her failed marriage and the ongoing nasty custody battle for her only child.
“He appeared concerned and then asked what I wanted from my career going forward,” Johnson wrote. “He seemed genuinely interested in guiding me to the next level. I was on cloud nine.”
She says she then brought her daughter to the next taping of the Cosby Show, where the TV dad invited she and her child to his New York brownstone. Looking back, Johnson says she felt like the visit was a set up for what was to come next. She wrote that it was “a way to make me feel secure with him at all times” and that it “worked like a charm.”
Johnson says that Cosby then invited her back to his home a few days later to audition for the part, only for Cosby to attempt to take advantage of her. Read more of her vivid account below.
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, we walked upstairs to a huge living area of his home that featured a massive bar. A huge brass espresso contraption took up half the counter. At the time, it seemed rare for someone to have such a machine in his home for personal use.
Cosby said he wanted to see how I handled various scenes, so he suggested that I pretend to be drunk. (When did a pregnant woman ever appear drunk on The Cosby Show? Probably never, but I went with it.)
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.
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.
Now let me explain this: 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. 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.
My head became woozy, my speech became slurred, and the room began to spin nonstop. Cosby motioned for me to come over to him as though we were really about to act out the scene. He put his hands around my waist, and I managed to put my hand on his shoulder in order to steady myself.
As I felt my body go completely limp, my brain switched into automatic-survival mode. That meant making sure Cosby understood that I knew exactly what was happening at that very moment.
“You are a motherfucker aren’t you?”
That’s the exact question I yelled at him as he stood there holding me, expecting me to bend to his will.