Bill Cosby facing litany of allegations
(CNN) — It seems lately as if every day brings another allegation that further dismantles Bill Cosby’s image as the jovial, pudding-loving patriarch whose family-friendly brand of comedy tickled successive generations.
Though the star has vehemently denied most of the accusations that he drugged and sexually assaulted young women seeking career guidance, the stories are taking their toll on his reputation and bankroll.
The stories of Cosby’s purported misdeeds have been around for about a decade, but they recently got new life when a comedian took aim at him and a social media stunt inviting fans to meme the comic went awry.
Cosby, 77, has never faced a judge or jury, let alone been convicted, over the allegations. But it’s clear many people have already tried him in their minds.
When an NPR reporter gave him a chance to deny the allegations, Cosby provided an awkward moment of radio silence, refusing to answer the question. Given the same chance by The Associated Press, he offered no comment. When the interview concluded, he told a reporter that asking him about the allegations was a mark of low integrity and said he’d be appreciative if that portion of the interview was “scuttled.”
On Friday, Cosby told Florida Today he won’t respond to “innuendos,” referring to the women’s accusations.
“I know people are tired of me not saying anything, but a guy doesn’t have to answer to innuendos. People should fact-check. People shouldn’t have to go through that and shouldn’t answer to innuendos,” Cosby told the newspaper in a backstage interview before his sellout performance at the King Center for the Performing Arts in Melbourne.
Here’s a rundown of the alleged events altering Cosby’s image:
Linda Joy Traitz
Linda Joy Traitz has a criminal record in Florida and spent time in prison on a conviction of drug trafficking, according to state records.
Cosby’s lawyer, Martin D. Singer, passed on her lengthy rap sheet as an indication to her character.
But Traitz spoke openly about her record to CNN, including her last arrest in 2008, which led to more than three years in prison for drug trafficking and possession.
“When I got sent to prison … it saved my life,” she said. “It was a great experience for me.” It ended her addiction to pain pills, and she’s been clean ever since, she said.
Numerous arrests speckle Traitz’ rap sheet, including on suspicion of theft, battery and types of deception — fraud and impersonation — often in connection with drug possession.
She said Cosby pushed himself on her when she worked as a waitress at a restaurant in Los Angeles that Cosby co-owned when she met him in 1969.
Billboard Magazine mentioned Cosby co-owned a restaurant in a 1970 article.
Traitz was either 18 or 19 at the time, she said; she did not recall exactly. But she was fresh out of high school and new to the city, she said.
Cosby offered her a ride home but on the way, told her he’d like to swing by the beach with her in his Rolls Royce, she said. They parked, and he offered her drugs, an array of brightly colored pills, “to relax,” she alleged.
She said no, a few times. “He kept offering me the pills,” she alleged, and it made her feel uncomfortable. She claimed that he then groped her chest, pushing her down in the seat and toward the door, and tried to lay on top her.
She got out of the car and ran, she said. She added that she was “absolutely not” raped. He tried to calm her, she said, then drove her home in silence.
Cosby’s attorney said her account was not true.
“Ms. Traitz is the latest example of people coming out of the woodwork with fabricated or unsubstantiated stories about my client,” Singer said in a statement.
“We’ve reached a point of absurdity.”
That was the reaction of Cosby’s attorney when former actress Louisa Moritz told her story to entertainment website TMZ.
“The stories are getting more ridiculous. Now this woman is claiming that something occurred more than 40 years ago and that while she was waiting in the dressing room to appear on the Tonight Show, my client forced his penis into her mouth,” the statement read.
That is what TMZ reported that Moritz alleged.
She was in the green room at NBC in New York, when Cosby paid her a visit, she alleges. He offered to turn her into a “major star through his direction,” she told TMZ.
Then he forced himself on her, she alleged.
Moritz was known for her roles mostly as a blonde bombshell, according to her IMDb profile. She is probably best known for her role as a prostitute in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”
In real life, she was anything but mindless, IMDb wrote. She was a licensed lawyer in California, and made the dean’s list in law school.
Singer also called her credibility into question over disciplinary action the state bar took against her over a legal fee.
She received as a disciplinary measure a “public reproval” in 2013 after taking a legal fee for work that was not performed. She refunded the fee, after the client complained to the bar, according to documents.
In September this year, Moritz, who is 68, did not respond to a notice of disciplinary charges, and as a result, a court recommended her disbarment.
CNN made multiple calls to numbers listed for Moritz, and has not been able to reach her.
In January 2004, Constand, then a 31-year-old staffer for the women’s basketball team at Temple University — Cosby’s alma mater — was at the comedian’s Cheltenham, Pennsylvania, home when Cosby provided her medication that made her dizzy, she alleged the following year.
She later woke up to find her bra undone and her clothes in disarray, she further alleged to police in her home province of Ontario, Canada, in January 2005.
Though his attorney initially called Constand’s claim “utterly preposterous” and no charges were filed, Cosby settled a civil suit with Constand that alleged 13 Jane Does had similar stories of sexual abuse.
When Cosby attorney John Schmitt this week sent out a blanket denial of several allegations that have cropped up recently, he later amended his denial to say he wasn’t referring to Constand, who resolved her differences “to the mutual satisfaction of Mr. Cosby and Ms. Constand years ago.”
Florida nurse Therese Serignese, 57, told ABC’s 20/20 that she was a 19-year-old model visiting Las Vegas when Cosby handed her pills in a private dressing room following a performance.
“Take these,” Cosby told her, according to Serignese.
After consuming the pills, she remembered “feeling drugged, and I was kind of leaning forward, and he was behind me having sex with me. And I — I remember it because it was not good.”
Serignese never made public accusations in the immediate aftermath. She explained her decision in an article she wrote in Friday’s New York Daily News.
“Cosby was everywhere. Everyone thought he was a great family man. I knew he wasn’t. I just couldn’t prove it with anything but my word. There was no video camera or DNA evidence. No one else had accused him publicly yet,” Serignese wrote.
She added: “He didn’t drink or take the pills. They could test him, and he’d be clean.”
Seringense claims she was going to testify to support Constand in her civil lawsuit against Cosby.
“When the first victim came forward in 2005, I was angry that he called her a liar. I wanted to back her up. But even then I worried about the repercussions. I had younger children then,” Serignese wrote.
“Ten years ago, the climate still wasn’t right. We would have all been humiliated. Now, I could see it was time, and I would be safer. I wouldn’t be alone. It took me 38 years to feel safe,” she said.
Serignese told 20/20 that she called Cosby and saw him again after the initial encounter. When asked whether she had sex with him again, she said, “I probably did.”
When asked whether that sex was consensual, Serignese said: “Oh, that’s an interesting way to phrase it, isn’t that? I would say I never was an active participant in any sexual intercourse with him.
“I never gave the impression that I wanted sex with him whatsoever. I would say, from my perspective, that I was used,” she said.
In a general response to the accusations, Cosby’s attorney Singer late Friday called the increasing number of claims of sexual assault against the legendary comedian “ridiculous” and said the media should stop airing “unsubstantiated, fantastical stories.”
Singer said in a written statement sent to CNN that it defies common sense that “so many people would have said nothing, done nothing, and made no reports to law enforcement or asserted civil claims if they thought they had been assaulted over a span of so many years.”
Tarshis was a 19-year-old actress in 1969 when, she says, she met Cosby in Los Angeles. The two became friendly. One night after taping his sitcom, he invited her back to his bungalow and fixed her a “redeye” (a Bloody Mary topped with beer), she alleged this month.
“The next thing I remember was coming to on his couch while being undressed,” she told Hollywood Elsewhere. “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.”
It was the first of two similar incidents, said Tarshis, who is now a journalist and publicist.
The now-wife of “The Incredible Hulk” star Lou Ferrigno told CNN that Cosby forcibly kissed her at his home in 1967.
Carla Ferrigno said she told her husband, whom she married in 1980, about the incident about five years ago and he advised her to stay silent.
“I am going public (now) because I am just one more person who puts the nail in his coffin,” she said.
A Cosby lawyer called the media coverage of the allegation “utter nonsense.”
“This continuing pattern of attacks on Mr. Cosby has entered the realm of the ridiculous, with a purported ‘forceful kiss’ at a party in 1967, nearly 50 years ago, being treated as a current ‘news story’ and grossly mischaracterized as a ‘sexual assault,'” attorney Singer said in a statement.
Carla Ferrigno was an 18-year-old Playboy Bunny when she went with a male friend to Cosby’s house. The comedian and his wife went to a movie with Ferrigno and her date, then returned to Cosby’s home in Beverly Hills.
She told CNN that Cosby’s wife disappeared while the other three played pool.
After her date left the room, Cosby grabbed her, pulled her to him and kissed her, she said.
“It was so unexpected and so rough. He kissed me right in the mouth.”
In 1970, attorney Green was an aspiring model in her early 20s. At a working lunch with Cosby and others, she was suffering from the flu and Cosby “went into some sort of office area at the back of the restaurant and he produced two capsules in his hand,” she told Matt Lauer of the “Today Show.” At first, they made her feel “great” and then left her “almost literally face down on the table of this restaurant.”
Cosby took her to her apartment and started “groping me and kissing me and touching me and handling me and you know, taking off my clothes,” Green said. After telling Cosby “that if he didn’t kill me and he tried to rape me, it was going to go very badly,” he left two $100 bills on her coffee table and left, she said in her 2005 allegation.
A lawyer for Cosby told the show, “Miss Green’s allegations are absolutely false. Mr. Cosby does not know the name Tamara Green or (maiden name) Tamara Lucier, and the incident she describes did not happen.
Cosby was a familiar face in 1982, not only for his comedy, but also for his Jell-O and Coca-Cola commercials. Dickinson was a supermodel in her late 20s.
Dickinson alleged this week that she and Cosby had dinner in Lake Tahoe, Nevada, and he gave her a glass of red wine and a pill she believed was for menstrual cramps.
“The last thing I remember was Bill Cosby in a patchwork robe, dropping his robe and getting on top of me. And I remember a lot of pain,” she told “Entertainment Tonight.”
Cosby’s attorney, Singer, said in a statement that Dickinson’s allegation was a “fabricated lie” that contradicted what she wrote in her autobiography and what she said during a 2002 New York Observer interview.
Ferrier told media outlets in 2005 that she met Cosby in Denver in the mid-’80s. He mentored her for a time, but one night, she said, he gave her a drugged cappuccino.
“I woke up in my car in the parking lot with my clothes all a mess,” she said. “I wondered, I still wonder, ‘What did he do with me? Why was my bra unhooked?’ ”
The two later conducted an “on-and-off consensual affair” that lasted several years, she alleged to People magazine.
“He kept luring me in,” Ferrier told the magazine. “I felt like I couldn’t say no.”
At the time, Cosby’s publicist told People that he had no comment.
In 1985, when Cosby was starring in his eponymous No. 1 TV show as a doting, wisecracking dad and doctor, Bowman, a 17-year-old model and actress, met Cosby in Denver. She came forward with her allegations in 2006 and recently wrote a column in The Washington Post questioning why no one listened to her the first time.
According to Bowman’s account, Cosby visited her numerous times, giving her acting lessons and “flying me around to major cities to events,” she told Newsweek. After she turned 18, Cosby “assaulted (me) a number of times.” In an incident in New York, Bowman “had one glass of wine and then I blacked out. I woke up throwing up in the toilet. … I was wearing a white T-shirt that wasn’t mine, and he was in a white robe.”
In an incident in Atlantic City, an angry Cosby “got on top of me and started taking his pants off and I was screaming and crying and begging him to leave me alone and I fought so hard and I was screaming so loud that he got mad and threw me aside and got away from me, and that was it.”
The Cosby camp replied, “Over the last several weeks, decade-old, discredited allegations against Mr. Cosby have resurfaced. The fact that they are being repeated does not make them true. Mr. Cosby does not intend to dignify these allegations with any comment.”
And here is a rundown of how the allegations are affecting his career:
On the Netflix website, it still lists the availability of “Bill Cosby 77” as “coming soon.” However, the streaming and DVD service announced this week that the stand-up comedy special, filmed before a live audience in July, will not premiere the day after Thanksgiving as planned.
The company did not elaborate, issuing a statement that said only, “At this time we are postponing the launch of the new stand up comedy special ‘Bill Cosby 77.'”
A Netflix spokeswoman declined to comment further.
NBC has also decided against moving forward with its own Cosby project.
The network said Wednesday that it has opted to stop developing the comedy show, which was billed this summer as a “classic, big extended-family sitcom” revolving around Cosby.
“We can confirm that the Cosby project is no longer in development,” NBC said.
The network had no further comment.
TV Land, one of the networks that have reruns of “The Cosby Show” in their lineups, quietly removed the sitcom from its programming schedule Wednesday.
TV Land also deleted the “Cosby Show” page from its website.
The channel did not respond to requests for comment about the disappearance of the show.
CNN’s AnneClaire Stapleton, Todd Leopold, Brian Stelter, Michael Martinez and Kristina Sgueglia contributed to this report.