In what is a depressing sentence to write, there’s been a brief respite from women accusing Bill Cosby of rape lately. But that interlude ended yesterday with a new article on The Huffington Post written by Cindra Ladd, a philanthropist and former film executive who’s also the wife of Alan Ladd Jr., who served as head of both 20th Century Fox (where he famously shepherded Star Wars) and MGM, while also producing movies such as Braveheart and Gone Baby Gone. In her column, titled “Cosby: Trust Me,” Cindra Ladd details her own story of being drugged and assaulted by Cosby in 1969, when she was just 21 and working for movie producer Ray Stark.
For those who have been keeping up with the Cosby allegations, Ladd’s tale is an unfortunately familiar one: She says she and Cosby began “hanging out” as friends while she was working in New York. One night, when they were supposed to see a movie together, she complained of a headache. Ladd says Cosby offered her a “miracle cure” in the form of a mysterious capsule; when she asked what it was, she says Cosby replied, “Don’t you trust me?”
From there, Ladd says it’s long remained a blur:
I have a vague recollection of feeling like I was floating while walking through Times Square and watching some kind of Japanese samurai movie with him. I don’t remember where the theater was nor very much of the evening.
What I do recall, vividly and clearly, is waking up the next morning nude in the bed of his friend’s apartment and seeing Cosby wearing a white terrycloth bathrobe and acting as if there was nothing unusual. It was obvious to me that he had had sex with me. I was horrified, embarrassed and ashamed. There was a mirror above the bed, which shocked me further.
While Ladd says she finally told her husband what had happened to her only nine years ago, she believes now is the right time to lend her voices to the more than two-dozen women who have shared similar stories—often to be met with accusations that they’re just seeking fame or fortune (you know, the fame and fortune that comes with making a rape allegation). Ladd, who has enjoyed plenty of fame and fortune already in one of the most successful partnerships in Hollywood history, needlessly avows, “I have no plans to sue, I don’t want or need money. I have no plans for a press conference or for doing any interviews.” She also says this will be “the last time I intend to address it publicly.”
Ladd also reminds those who have asked of Cosby’s accusers, “What took them so long?” to remember that “up until relatively recently, prosecuting rape was a “he said/she said” proposition where the victim was blamed for having worn ‘suggestive clothing’ or questioned as to why she went somewhere with her rapist.” She adds, ““It never occurred to me to go to the police. It was a different time and ‘date rape’ was a concept that didn’t exist. I just kept asking myself over and over in disbelief why this had happened to me.”
It’s another compelling account from a woman with seemingly no reason to lie—though of course, it seems unlikely to convince those who maintain that Cosby is “innocent until proven guilty” of decades-old crimes they are fully aware are near impossible to prove. Meanwhile, the sole possibility of seeing that play out in court, the criminal charges threatened by model Chloe Goins, has already faced setbacks with promises of “documentary evidence” that Cosby’s attorney, Martin Singer, says proves he was nowhere near the Playboy Mansion on the night the alleged assault took place.
It also hasn’t entirely derailed Cosby’s increasingly creepily named “Far From Finished” comedy tour, which trundles on despite protests, show interruptions, and scattered cancellations. At his Jan. 17 show in Denver, some 1,200 ticket-holders—nearly 40 percent of the venue—opted for refunds rather than attend, while attorney Gloria Allred led a protest outside that she says was unfairly suppressed by police.
Perhaps sensing that upcoming performances might be similarly received, Cosby has postponed or outright canceled upcoming shows in Charlotte, North Carolina; Bakersfield, California; Worcester, Massachusetts; and Edmonds, Washington, while more than 600 people have signed a petition asking Pittsburgh’s Heinz Hall to scrap its scheduled show as well. In at least one letter explaining the cancellation, Cosby cites “scheduling conflicts” as the reason.
Nevertheless, Cosby has remained defiant and appreciative of his most ardent fans’ support elsewhere, writing a letter to the audience at his upcoming performance on Jan. 30, suggesting that his comedy tour is nothing less than a holy mission (with all the persecution that implies). “GOD has Blessed me with a wonderful gift to share with all of my fans,” Cosby writes. “For 53 years I have continued to master this gift, which heals the soul and warms hearts, Laughter!”
The site of that show: Sandusky, Ohio, a city that’s already inured to trying its best to ignore associations with unspeakable things.