Add actress Beverly Johnson to the list of women who have come forward with disturbing allegations of having been drugged by Bill Cosby.
Johnson disclosed the incident that she says happened in 1986 when she was auditioning for a small part on “The Cosby Show,” Cosby’s blockbuster NBC series. In a first-person piece published Thursday on the website of Vanity Fair, Johnson details her experience of having been pressed by Cosby to drink a cappuccino while discussing the role with him at his home.
“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,” Johnson writes.
Johnson describes a hostile exchange between the two of them that ended with Cosby dragging her down a flight of stairs and shoving into a cab. She does not claim that to have been sexually assaulted by the comedian, as so many other women have.
Johnson also details her rationale for staying quiet about the incident for years, until the floodgates opened in the last four weeks as nearly two dozen women have levied charges of rape and other abuse at the comedian. Many of the claims involve some form of drugging to make them more vulnerable.
Even though Johnson was a star in her own right, she worried about how her disclosure of untoward behavior by a beloved figure in pop culture would be received.
“I struggled with how to reveal my big secret, and more importantly, what would people think when and if I did,” Johnson wrote. “Would they dismiss me as an angry black woman intent on ruining the image of one of the most revered men in the African-American community over the last 40 years? Or would they see my open and honest account of being betrayed by one of the country’s most powerful, influential, and beloved entertainers?”
As the accusations against Cosby have mounted, Johnson said she felt an obligation to come forward. Cosby in the past few weeks has been sued by one accuser who claimed he molested her 40 years ago when she was 15, a charge that has sparked an investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department.
“I reached the conclusion that the current attack on African-American men has absolutely nothing to do at all with Bill Cosby,” she wrote. “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.”
Cosby’s attorney, Martin Singer, did not respond to a request for comment. He has denied many of the previous allegations.