I Warned You About Bill Cosby in 2007
The public may be waking up to the mountain of rape allegations now, but women were coming forward years ago to warn that the Jell-O Man was not so sweet.
In 2007—seven years before she publicly came forward—I spoke with Joan Tarshis, a former Hollywood publicist who claimed that Bill Cosby raped her. After our talk—and, of course, much more research—I filed a version of the following story on my website Hollywood, Interrupted. It identified a number of women who claimed that Bill Cosby had raped them, including Andrea Constand, whose allegations led Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, prosecutors to charge Cosby criminally on Dec. 30, 2015.
In my interviews with several of the women back then, I found the tale they told disturbingly similar: All were young and impressionable, beautiful, and talented. Cosby had taken a keen interest in their careers, and had offered to mentor them or otherwise open the fabled doors to the glistening kingdom of show business, for which he was a principal emissary. All were given spiked drinks—or drugs misrepresented as medicine—and became incapacitated, the women charged. And all allegedly awoke with the unshakable sense that something wrong had occurred. People magazine even ran an article on the lawsuits that were settled with several of the women, but never followed up on it. And from my own experience, I can confirm that the story shook people to the core: Even more than Woody Allen, Bill Cosby was a beloved figure and civil-rights pioneer; hardened editors were horrified at the prospect of taking him down. I might as well have pitched a story about Martin Luther King Jr. philandering with white women. The story went nowhere.
It’s important to track the history of this story, and the media complicity that enabled it to remain untold for so long. Heroes always fall hard, but their suffering and anguish is nothing compared to that of their victims. — Mark Ebner