Another Bill Cosby Accuser Surfaces, Will Comedian's Legacy Be Destroyed?
HOLLYWOOD, Calif. (Christian Examiner) -- Another Bill Cosby accuser, Therese Serignese, came forward Wednesday saying that the family-friendly comedian drugged and raped her in 1976. In addition, the Associated Press released a previously unaired video in which Cosby asked a reporter to consider his "integrity" before alleging sexual misconduct. Both reports paint the beleaguered former Jell-O pudding pitchman in a worse light than even 48 hours ago.
Cosby, known internationally as educated and moral head of the Huxtable family, has previously been very open about his faith in God and Christian upbringing, making the latest accusations even more shocking.
Serignese became the seventh woman to publicly come forward Wednesday and accuse Cosby of heinous sexual conduct, with the total number of women remaining at 15. The 57-year-old Florida nurse said that the first incident with the comedian occurred 38 years ago in 1976 at the Las Vegas Hilton. Though she admitted to accepting gifts and money from the superstar entertainer over the years, she was adamant that her first sexual encounter with Cosby was non-consensual.
The woman said that she was only 19 when she happened to run into Cosby at the hotel's gift shop. He allegedly approached her, invited her to his show that night, and once they were alone in his green room, offered her two white pills with a glass of water.
"The next memory I have was I was in a bathroom and I was kind of bending forward and he was behind me having sex with me," she told the Huffington Post.
Serignese never told anyone about the whole incident other than her mother, who advised her to call him because she thought her daughter could get money from Cosby. That led to the 19-year-old allegedly staying in a Penthouse suite for several weeks, at least one other sexual encounter after her divorce in 1985 and a $5,000 check issued to her after a car accident injury in 1996. Serignese provided the letters sent to her by Cosby's talent agency and an attorney as evidence, which can be seen here.
When asked specifically if Cosby made her take drugs— "How did I let that happen?" she recalled thinking at the time -- Serignese said that it was "intimidation" and "vulnerability" that led to her rape.
"I would say he made me take drugs. I really don't think that I ever had consensual sex with him, ever," she told the Huffington Post. "It was an intimidation thing; it was a vulnerability. I put myself in the wrong place many times and then I paid the consequences."
The public assault on Cosby's previously untainted character continued Wednesday when the Associated Press released part of an interview with the comedian and his wife Camille that took place earlier this month. The reporter asked about the rape accusations, and Cosby refused to answer. After the interview had finished, the 77-year-old comedian requested that his response not be shown.
"Can I get something from you, that none of that will be shown?" he asked. "I'm asking your integrity that since I didn't want to say anything but I did answer you ... I would appreciate it if it were scuttled."
Although the reporter said that he would have to clear the request with his editor, Cosby didn't give up.
"I think if you want to consider yourself to be serious that it will not appear anywhere ... We thought, by the way, that because it was AP that it wouldn't be necessary to go over that question with you."
Though the millionaire entertainer has never been convicted of any crime in court -- a civil suit by accuser Andrea Constand and 12 other women including Serignese was settled for an undisclosed amount in 2005 -- the controversy has turned public sentiment against him, largely destroyed his media comeback and potentially marred his legacy. The comedian had a stand up special called "Cosby 77" coming next week on Netflix and another sitcom coming to NBC in 2015, but both have been canceled. In addition, reruns of "The Cosby Show" on TVLand have been pulled from the schedule.
Cosby has stayed silent about the accusations. His lawyers, Martin Singer and John P. Schmitt, have issued blanket denials of any wrongdoing on the entertainer's part.
"Over the last several weeks, decade-old, discredited allegations against Mr. Cosby have resurfaced," John P. Schmitt stated Sunday. "The fact that they are being repeated does not make them true. Mr. Cosby does not intend to dignify these allegations with any comment."