A week after three women joined the growing ranks of alleged victims to publicly accuse Bill Cosby of drugging and raping them, two more women have come forward with similar allegations, including a woman who said Cosby attacked her under the auspices of helping her prepare for a guest appearance on The Cosby Show. The Wrap reported the details of a press conference convened by lawyer Gloria Allred, who represents the latest accusers, Lili Bernard and Sammie Mays. Bernard’s and Mays’ accusations echo those of the more than 40 women who have said Cosby incapacitated them with drug-laced drinks, then sexually assaulted them.
Bernard’s account differs slightly from those of Cosby’s other accusers because the assault allegedly took place while she was preparing for the role of Mrs. Minnifield in “Bring Me The Lip Gloss of Deirdre Arpelle,” an episode from The Cosby Show’s eighth and final season. Several of Cosby’s accusers have said he offered them drinks to relax them or quell their nerves in a variety of scenarios. According to Bernard, Cosby’s ruse in her case was a “mentoring session” she underwent prior to shooting her scenes as Mrs. Minnifield, Heathcliff Huxtable’s most neurotic and demanding patient. After plying her with compliments, Bernard said Cosby drugged and raped her. She saw Cosby again later in 1992, after the episode aired that January, at which point he allegedly said “As far as I’m concerned, Bernard, you’re dead. Do you hear me? You’re dead, Bernard. You don’t exist.”
Bernard said the attack left her with suicidal thoughts in the months immediately following it, as well as panic attacks and night terrors that haven’t gone away.
Mays said she met Cosby while working as a writer covering the National Association of Television Program Executives convention in New Orleans in the mid-‘80s. Mays said Cosby invited her to his hotel room after she asked for an interview, then offered her a drink, which he mixed with his back turned to her. After consuming the drink, Mays said she regained consciousness in Cosby’s suite with her clothes and undergarments undone.
The avalanche of allegations have sullied Cosby’s career and, by extension, all of his creative output. But whatever compartmentalization might have allowed guilt-free consumption of Cosby Show reruns is far more difficult now, with Bernard accusing Cosby of using the set of his beloved sitcom as a hunting ground. Cosby’s co-stars have remained mostly mum on the subject, except for Raven-Symone’s declarations via social media that Cosby has never behaved inappropriately toward her, and Phylicia Rashad’s suggestion of a conspiracy to destroy Cosby’s reputation, comments she later walked back. Cosby has consistently denied the accusations.
The beleaguered Cosby is set to wrap up his “Far From Finished” stand-up tour with a May 2 performance in Atlanta, with protests scheduled to take place outside the venue.