It wasn’t quite a “catch and kill,” but Bill Cosby accuser Beth Ferrier knows what it’s like to have her story buried by the National Enquirer.
Only in her case, the tabloid did it in exchange for getting an exclusive interview with Cosby, which it ran in March 2005, not long after authorities decided not to charge him criminally for allegedly drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand in January 2004. Last week Cosby was convicted on all counts against him over Constand.
So Ferrier says she was not surprised when she read recently how the Enquirer purchased the life rights of former Playboy magazine Playmate Karen McDougal, who claims she had a nine-month affair with Donald Trump in 2006 and 2007. The Enquirer never ran the story.
“I was like, ‘That’s exactly what they did to me,’” Ferrier, 58, told The Daily Beast.
McDougal recently settled out of court with American Media Inc, which owns the Enquirer. Under terms of the settlement she can keep the $150,000 she received in August 2016 and has the full rights to her own story but if she sells it to a third party within the next 12 months AMI can get up to $75,000 from it.
While an AMI spokesman said it did not kill McDougal’s story as a favor to Trump (who is friends with publisher David Pecker), it did kill Ferrier’s story in order to get an exclusive interview with Cosby in 2005, according to Cosby’s own deposition in Constand’s civil lawsuit, which was made public in 2015.
“Beth Ferrier was never paid a dime by AMI for any story about Bill Cosby,” AMI spokesman Jon Hammond said via email.
That part is certainly true, according to Ferrier, who said she was promised $7,500 but never got paid. She also said she passed a lie detector test the Enquirer had her take. Nothing in her contract prohibited Ferrier from telling her story elsewhere, though, so she told it to the Philadelphia Daily News in June 2005 and became Jane Doe #5 in Constand’s civil suit against Cosby.
The Enquirer never bothered to tell her it wasn’t going to run her interview, she said. And she never even learned it traded it for the exclusive interview with Cosby until a decade later, when Cosby’s deposition in Constand’s civil suit became public.
Ferrier was a 24-year-old model working for Jo Farrell’s JF Images in 1984 when she was introduced to Cosby by the booker for her agency at Fashion Week in New York City and invited to dinner at his Upper East Side townhouse.
She ended up spending most of the week with him and the two later began an extramarital affair that lasted several months, Ferrier said. A few weeks after she ended the affair, she says he called to ask her to visit him before a performance at a nightclub in Denver.
“Here’s your favorite coffee, something I made, to relax you,’“ she says Cosby told her backstage.
Ferrier says she drank a few sips of the coffee, began to feel woozy then woke up several hours later in the back of her car, alone. Her bra was undone, her top was untucked and she had no idea what happened to her.
She decided to confront him at his hotel.
“I walked right in,”she said. “No one stopped me. He answered his door. He wouldn’t turn on the lights. He was buck naked and I went in and sat on the edge of the bed. I wanted to figure out what happened? What did I do? I hadn’t had any alcohol or anything.”
Ferrier said she left after not getting any answers.
A few hours later, she said Farrell, her agent, called and said, “Cosby forgives you but I can’t represent you anymore because you had too much to drink.”
Two other former JF Images models, Barbara Bowman and Heidi Thomas, have made similar claims about Cosby and say they were introduced to him through the agency.
Farrell told The Denver Post in 2006 that Cosby was a friend and she had no knowledge about drugging and sexual assault allegations against him.
Ferrier said she told no one about the night in Denver for years. Then in February 2005 she read a story in the Enquirer about Constand’s drugging and sexual assault allegations and contacted the tabloid to try to get in touch with Constand.
“It was the first time I had that a-ha moment of, ‘She’s like a carbon copy of me,’” Ferrier said. “She plays basketball. She comes from a good family. She’s well educated. She’s attractive.
“You open up the front page and there was a number in Baton Rouge to call so I did. It didn’t say it was a tips line.”
Instead, the Enquirer wanted to interview with her, she said. She agreed to take a lie detector test, which she passed, and the tabloid agreed to pay her $7,500.
The writer said, ‘We guarantee that Andrea will get to see this and you will get to meet her,’” she said.
Instead, the tabloid went to Cosby with her claims, then agreed to kill her story in exchange for a front-page exclusive interview with him. He also got to see the story before it ran, he said in his deposition.
The tabloid also agreed no AMI publication would run any stories for two years about Cosby having extramarital affairs, drugging women, or engaging in sexual contact with women while they were incapacitated, according to the contract Cosby signed.
In the interview Cosby all but accused Constand of trying to extort money from him.
“I am not going to give in to people who try to exploit me because of my celebrity status,” he said. “Sometimes you try to help people and it backfires on you and then they try to take advantage of you. People can soil you by taking advantage.”
Six days later, Constand sued Cosby for battery, assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and defamation due to the Enquirer interview for trying to make the public believe she was trying to extort him. She later sued AMI as well. Constand settled with both in late 2006 for $3.38 million from Cosby, which included $20,000 from AMI.
It wasn’t until Cosby’s deposition became public in July 2015 that Ferrier learned why her story never ran.
“I wasn’t surprised,” she said. “It was like, ‘Oh. Ah-hah. Got it.’”
Cosby acknowledged his affair with Ferrier in his deposition but said he did not recall the alleged drugging incident.
In July, he will be sentenced for the Constand assault and faces up to 30 years in prison.