Model Beverly Johnson, famous for being the first black woman to appear on the cover of Vogue, has joined the disturbingly large ranks of women who say that they were drugged by Bill Cosby. (Johnson’s story brings the number up to a shocking 20, according to Salon.) Johnson wrote about her experiences in an essay for Vanity Fair, and described a calculated and depressingly familiar pattern where Cosby established trust by offering her a small part on The Cosby Show and inviting her and her daughter to his brownstone for brunch before inviting her back—alone—for a “line reading” at his home.
There, Cosby offered her a cappuccino from his private bar and became upset when she declined the drink. When he insisted, she took a few sips:
My head became woozy, my speech became slurred, and the room began to spin nonstop. Cosby motioned for me to come over to him as though we were really about to act out the scene. He put his hands around my waist, and I managed to put my hand on his shoulder in order to steady myself.
As I felt my body go completely limp, my brain switched into automatic-survival mode. That meant making sure Cosby understood that I knew exactly what was happening at that very moment.
Johnson then claims she began swearing at Cosby and resisting his advances, at which point he violently dragged her down the stairs of his brownstone—“I feared my neck was going to break with the force he was using to pull me down those stairs,” she says—and threw her into a taxi. Johnson says she considered including the incident in her 2013 memoirs, but declined because not only didn’t she want to be involved in a “he-said/she-said situation,” she didn’t want to contribute to negative stereotypes of black men, presumably by tarnishing the image of a self-proclaimed moral arbiter. But after hearing the stories of her fellow victims, including her friend Janice Dickinson, she decided to come forward.
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.
Johnson’s full account is available on the Vanity Fair website.