The number of women who accuse Bill Cosby of drugging and raping them keeps growing. Now Beverly Johnson, former supermodel and successful entrepreneur, has spoken out in a Vanity Fair essay entitled “Bill Cosby Drugged Me. This Is My Story.”
Initially, there were those who thought the only accusers were older white women who were trying to profit by shaking down Cosby for financial gain. This is not the case, because other non-white women who are not as well known as Johnson had also come forward. Also, people who are violated deserve compensation, which is not payment, because psychotherapy costs money and is necessary to heal.
It doesn’t matter what color the women are. As a person who appreciates what Cosby did to change the perception of African-Americans with The Cosby Show, his former glory as a comedian/actor and the allegations are two separate issues. Because a daddy-like fictional character made us laugh doesn’t mean the creator and the creation share the same values.
If what is being said is true, Bill Cosby is a sick man and a serial rapist who lived a lie. And there are now over 20 accusers. That’s a lot of women. No, he has not been found guilty in a court of law, but flatly stating all of the allegations should be ignored depicts a culture of violence against women.
Although Johnson said Bill Cosby drugged her, her strong verbal reaction (calling him a “m***** f*****” repeatedly) thwarted a pending sexual assault.
“At one point he dropped his hands from my waist and just stood there looking at me like I’d lost my mind. What happened next is somewhat cloudy for me because the drug was in fuller play by that time. I recall his seething anger at my tirade and then him grabbing me by my left arm hard and yanking all 110 pounds of me down a bunch of stairs as my high heels clicked and clacked on every step. I feared my neck was going to break with the force he was using to pull me down those stairs.”
Johnson said Cosby pulled her down the stairs of his brownstone, flagged a cab and threw her in without uttering one word. Somehow she made it home. Her experience was in the 1980s, and there are those who would question why she’s speaking out now. The 70s and the 80s were a different era for women than the 21st century. Violence against women continues, but their voices are stronger now than even 10 years ago.
“And I watched in horror as my longtime friend and fellow model Janice Dickinson was raked over the coals for telling her account of rape at Cosby’s hands. Over the years I’ve met other women who also claim to have been violated by Cosby. Many are still afraid to speak up. I couldn’t sit back and watch the other women be vilified and shamed for something I knew was true.”
Johnson is an icon in the modeling word and the black community. In 1974, she became the first black woman to grace the cover of Vogue. She is also the founder and president of BJE Hair LLC (Beverly Johnson Enterprises) and stated she does not want or need Bill Cosby’s money.
She had her reservations about coming forward and stated her family and friends told her she shouldn’t but that she had to follow her conscience and stand in solidarity with the other women whose stories were familiar.
As a black woman, Johnson also had to grapple with the issue of injustice toward African-American men and the perception that she might be adding to the problem.
“Finally, I reached the conclusion that the current attack on African American men has absolutely nothing to do at all with Bill Cosby. He brought this on himself when he decided he had the right to have his way with who knows how many women over the last four decades. If anything, Cosby is distinguished from the majority of black men in this country because he could depend on the powers that be for support and protection.”