Playboy founder Hugh Hefner has spoken out about his longtime friend Bill Cosby after one woman filed a lawsuit against the comedian earlier this week, claiming Cosby raped her in the Playboy mansion when she was 15.
“Bill Cosby has been a good friend for many years and the mere thought of these allegations is truly saddening,” Hefner said in a statement. “I would never tolerate this kind of behavior, regardless of who was involved.”
Cosby and Hefner’s friendship goes back decades. Cosby had a long history of emceeing the Playboy Jazz Festival, up until his last gig emceeing in 2012.
Judy Huth, who is now 55, filed a suit Tuesday, alleging that Cosby plied her with alcohol and sexually assaulted her in the Playboy mansion in 1974, when she was 15, after meeting her on a movie set. The suit claims the comedian told her to say she was 19 when asked.
Huth is suing Cosby for “severe and extreme emotional distress” and is seeking punitive damages. She and attorney Gloria Allred met with the LAPD on Friday.
Cosby has now been accused of sexual assault by more than 15 women, though he has not been convicted of a crime. Attorney Martin Singer denied Huth’s claims, and filed a demurrer to dismiss Huth’s suit on Thursday. He claimed that Huth and her attorney in the civil litigation, Marc Strecker, tried to extort money from the 77-year-old comedian.
“Over and over again, we have refuted these new unsubstantiated stories with documentary evidence, only to have a new uncorroborated story crop up out of the woodwork,” Singer said in a statement. “When will it end? It is long past time for this media vilification of Mr. Cosby to stop.”
Los Angeles Chief of Police Charlie Beck told reporters on Thursday that the department would investigate claims against Cosby, even those outside of the statute of limitations period. But he said as of Thursday, no victims whose cases could be tried had come forward.