Janis Ian Says Bill Cosby Tried to Ban Her From TV

Janis Ian Bill Cosby
Lynn McAfee/REX

Singer Janis Ian has added her voice to the many who are speaking out against Bill Cosby since numerous sexual assault allegations have come out against the comedic icon.

In a Facebook post this week, Ian shared her own story about a personal experience with Cosby.

“I have a personal stake,” she wrote, linking to the recent New York magazine cover story in which 35 Cosby accusers told their stories. “No, I was not sexually bothered by Bill Cosby. We met because he was curious about me.”

She wrote that her story began when her hit “Society’s Child” dominated the charts when she was only 16 years old. She then made an appearance on variety show “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.” After months of being on the road and the controversy surrounding “Society’s Child,” Ian said she was exhausted at the show’s taping.

“I needed to sleep. So I fell asleep in my chaperone’s lap. She was earth motherly, I was scared. It was good to rest,” she wrote.

Shortly after the taping, Ian was informed that she had been blackballed from appearing on television.

“A while later, my manager called me into her office,” she recounted. “‘What happened at the Smothers Brothers show?!’ I had no idea what she was talking about, and said so. ‘Well, no one else on TV is willing to have you on.'”

According to Ian, her manager explained that it was Cosby who initiated the campaign against her.

“Cosby, seeing me asleep in the chaperone’s lap, had made it his business to ‘warn’ other shows that I wasn’t ‘suitable family entertainment,’ was probably a lesbian, and shouldn’t be on television,” Ian went on.

She later thanked Johnny Carson and his show producer for ignoring Cosby’s accusations. She also stated her opinion of the numerous allegations against Cosby and her thoughts on his wife, Camille.

“But what an odd thing, that a black man who slept with so very many white women chose to take my possible lesbianism away from our one meeting, rather than the message I tried to get across with ‘Society’s Child.” She concluded, “How pathetic. How truly, truly pathetic.”

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    1. dutchman says:

      Amazing story Janis. What pond scum BC is! Such a hypocrite, molester, and egomaniac. To try and tarnish this young girl’s nascent career over how she was resting, especially considering how Cosby preferred to deal with “resting” females, is an abomination. I’m so glad you didn’t become one of his victims Janis. Thanks goodness for your chaperone. I’m sure Cosby was trying to trash you because he couldn’t get in your pants. Indeed, pathetic.

    2. Strokker from Seattle says:

      Ur still a groovy songwriter in my eyes just remember the old song by The Spinners…”they smile at ur face all the time they wanna take ur place…the backstappers”…B.C. gonna learn what goes around comes around…MS. Ian stay true to ur soul…

    3. truthseeker says:

      but janis fink was a lesbian and cosby was right… at least that time

    4. Yep, i got it right. says:

      Cosby was likely more upset by the chaperone than anything else. He couldn’t get to Janis. Lesbian or not if she’s knocked out he can have his way with her and he couldn’t because of the chaperone. What a pig of a man.

    5. RM in L.A. says:

      Cosby is a rapist but more importantly he’s a bully. The real story here is that virtually no one has the guts to stand up against someone with money and fame. Janis Ian’s story is the most telling of all. It seems like Cosby knew he couldn’t control her so it pushed his berserk button.

    6. Jody Dunn says:

      You know the famous phrase when a man (especially the ultra creepy kind like Cosby) accuses you of being a lesbian (probably for ignoring him) is to ask: “are you the alternative?”.

    7. “The dumbing down of America is most evident in the slow decay of substantive content in the enormously influential media, the 30 second sound bites (now down to 10 seconds or less), lowest common denominator programming, but especially a kind of celebration of ignorance.” –Carl Sagan

      “The only proof they’re offering is that they were in his company.” –Monique Pressley

    8. Jim D says:

      What a hypocrisy that Bill Cosby wears a ” Hello friend” sweatshirt ! Who is he a true friend to ? He felt that he had the ” right” to try and destroy this young girls career ? It seems like Cosby felt the right to constantly be judging everyone else; while still feeling entitled to act in any way that he desired? The word “hypocrite” is way too polite for his actions!

    9. Tony Martin says:

      Sad thing is, He was right about her. I also think its not the whole story.

      • Minerva says:

        What difference does it make? He had no right to try to ruin her career. This makes him look even more of a nasty predator. Janis Ian was a very popular singer. Maybe that jerk was just jealous.

        What could “The whole story” have possibly have been? That she turned this disgusting creep down? I wonder how many other careers he tried to ruin because women refused him.

    10. Mr. Mike says:

      “So I fell asleep in my chaperone’s lap. She was earth motherly” So that’s where Cosby got the idea for his “Mushmouth” character.

    11. Kathleen Crowning says:

      It always unnerves me when someone from an oppressed class attempts to persecute someone from a different oppressed class. You’d think there’d be some sort of empathy there. It sounds vicious to say, but I hope Cosby’s life falls apart, he’s dragged through hell and taken for all he’s worth, after what he did to these innocent girls and women. I won’t wish him eternal damnation, but long years of mental suffering would be a good start. And good for you, Janis Ian. You always said writers get the last word.

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