Model Beverly Johnson: ‘Cosby Drugged Me’

Beverly Johnson attends the Kithe Brewster fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Fall 2014 Feb. 13, 2014, in New York City. 
Fernando Leon/Getty Images

Model Beverly Johnson has joined the growing list of Bill Cosby accusers and says that she was drugged by the beloved comedian in the 1980s while auditioning for a role on The Cosby Show.

Part of the reason Johnson says she’s coming out now, after countless other women have, is that she could not stand by and “watch the other women be vilified and shamed for something I knew was true.


It was on a separate occasion, when she was invited to do another reading, that Johnson said the TV dad’s behavior changed.

“Cosby said he wanted to see how I handled various scenes, so he suggested that I pretend to be drunk. (When did a pregnant woman ever appear drunk on The Cosby Show? Probably never, but I went with it.) As I readied myself to be the best drunk I could be, he offered me a cappuccino from the espresso machine,” Johnson writes. “I told him I didn’t drink coffee that late in the afternoon because it made getting to sleep at night more difficult. He wouldn’t let it go. He insisted that his espresso machine was the best model on the market and promised I’d never tasted a cappuccino quite like this one.”


She says she knew, within a few sips of the coffee that she took to mollify her host, that she had been drugged. “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,” she admits candidly.

Enraged that she had been tricked, even with a blurry head and slurred speech, the model says that she cursed at the influential actor.


“You are a [motherf—cker] aren’t you?” she says she told Cosby, repeating that curse as many times as she could.

Her defiance apparently upset Cosby, who dragged her down the stairs of his home and dumped her into a cab, according to the Vanity Fair essay. Johnson managed to get home but says that it took a few days for the drug to wear off completely.


In that time, though, she began questioning what happened to her.

“The next day I woke up in my own bed after falling into a deep sleep that lasted most of the day. I had no memory of how I got into my apartment or into my bed, though most likely my doorman helped me out,” she writes. “I sat in there still stunned by what happened the night before, confused and devastated by the idea that someone I admired so much had tried to take advantage of me, and used drugs to do so. Had I done something to encourage his actions?

“In reality, I knew I’d done nothing to encourage Cosby but my mind kept turning with question after question,” she added.


She said she tried to call Cosby to demand answers, dialing a private number that the actor had given her—but his wife answered the phone. In the end, she fell silent, like many other victims in the alleged cases, because in that moment, she says, she realized that Cosby was a man “so callous he not only drugged me, but he also gave me the number to the bedroom he shared with his wife. How could I fight someone that boldly arrogant and out of touch?”

“I had to use my voice as a sister, mother, and grandmother, and as a woman who knows that, according to the C.D.C., nearly one in five women [pdf] has been sexually assaulted at some time in her life, and that women of color face an even higher attack rate,” she adds.


Read more at Vanity Fair.

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