Sexual assault accusations against beloved actor and comedian Bill Cosby aren’t new. However, until recently the star had largely escaped public scrutiny.
But in recent weeks, Cosby has been dealing with fallout from a series of allegations as, on Sunday, a new alleged victim came forward with a story of abuse, sharing her story at Hollywood Elsewhere.
As reported by Variety, Joan Tarshis, now a publicist, said she was 19 and working for Cosby in the fall of 1969 when he raped her.
According to her essay at Hollywood Elsewhere, she had flown to New York and met the actor through friends. Cosby, she wrote, was always generous with drinks, though he never drank himself. He had a habit, Tarshis said, of topping off her bloody marys with beer.
Cosby’s attention flattered the then-teenager, she wrote, until one day this happened, she wrote: “The next thing I remember was coming to on his couch while being undressed. Through the haze I thought I was being clever when I told him I had an infection and he would catch it and his wife would know he had sex with someone. But he just found another orifice to use. I was sickened by what was happening to me and shocked that this man I had idolized was now raping me. Of course I told no one.”
According to Tarshis, her parents were proud that their daughter was working with the famous actor. So when Cosby later called and invited her to a music theater in Westbury, N.Y., she said she felt unable to tell her mother what had happened to her. And she went.
“When we got to Westbury and he went on, there was no seat for me,” she said. “I stood in the back of the theater with his chauffeur, feeling insulted that I wasn’t respected enough to be given a reserved seat. But soon after, I remember feeling very, very stoned and asking his chauffeur to take me back to the car. I was having trouble standing up. The next thing I remember was waking up in his bed back at the Sherry, naked. I remember thinking ‘You old s—t, I guess you got me this time, but it’s the last time you’ll ever see me,’” she revealed.
Although she says she never met with Cosby again, it took her 20 years to tell her story to anyone.
“I watched Cosby be praised by everyone from presidents to Oprah to the Jello corporation. It all made me ill, knowing first-hand there was something unbalanced about him. I had heard and/or strongly suspected I was not the only white girl he had drugged and raped but I never had any proof. No one began talking until 2004. And though I knew I should say something, I still felt ashamed. Ashamed that I didn’t earlier,” Tarshis wrote.
She is the latest accuser to come forward with allegations against 77-year-old Cosby.
In response to the renewed focus on the allegations, Cosby’s lawyer, John P. Schmitt, on Sunday released a statement on Cosby’s website, saying that the star would not dignify “decade-old, discredited” claims of sexual abuse.
“Over the last several weeks, decade-old, discredited allegations against Mr. Cosby have resurfaced,” the statement read. “The fact that they are being repeated does not make them true. Mr. Cosby does not intend to dignify these allegations with any comment.”
During a Saturday appearance on NPR, Cosby refused to answer any questions about the allegations during an interview with host Scott Simon. Cosby reportedly shook his head and kept his silence until Simon moved on to a different topic.
Read Tarshis’ full essay at Hollywood Elsewhere.