Model Beverly Johnson Alleges Bill Cosby Drugged Her in the 1980s, Writes in Vanity Fair She Told Him Off So He Put Her in a Cab

Pioneering former supermodel alleges in essay that Cosby dosed her coffee during lunch at his apartment one day

By Natalie Finn Dec 11, 2014 10:16 PMTags
Bill Cosby, Beverly JohnsonGetty Images

The list of Bill Cosby accusers has another—and very prominent—name.

Beverly Johnson, the pioneering 1970s-era supermodel who was the first African-American woman to be on the cover of American Vogue, alleges in an essay posted on Vanity Fair's website that Cosby drugged her in the mid-1980s and nothing further happened seemingly only because she realized what was happening and unquivocably told him off.

Cosby's attorney did not respond to VF and has not yet responded to a request for comment from E! News.

Johnson wrote that she went to lunch at Cosby's New York apartment one day, after her agent informed her that the comedian wanted her to audition for the role of one of his patients on The Cosby Show and she subsequently met the man at a taping of the then mega-hit sitcom. Cosby had also previously hosted her and her young daughter at his home for brunch on a previous occasion.

"He was the Jell-O Pudding man; like most kids, my daughter loved him," Johnson recalled their first outing.

She wrote: "Looking back, that first invite from Cosby to his home seems like part of a perfectly laid out plan, a way to make me feel secure with him at all times. It worked like a charm."

According to Johnson, on her solo visit to his place, they ate lunch and then Cosby asked her to try out playing a scene, instructing her to act as if she were drunk. "When did a pregnant woman ever appear drunk on The Cosby Show? Probably never, but I went with it," she wrote, a reference to the fact that Cosby's character, Dr. Cliff Huxtable, was an OBGYN and she was supposedly being asked to play one of his patients.

Johnson alleges that Cosby insisted that she have a capuccino, made on his ritzy-looking espresso machine, and that after she had a few sips, "My head became woozy, my speech became slurred, and the room began to spin nonstop. Cosby motioned for me to come over to him as though we were really about to act out the scene. He put his hands around my waist, and I managed to put my hand on his shoulder in order to steady myself.

"As I felt my body go completely limp, my brain switched into automatic-survival mode. That meant making sure Cosby understood that I knew exactly what was happening at that very moment."

Johnson claims that she called Cosby a "motherf--ker" to his face, multiple times, and ultimately he grabbed her by the arm, guided her out of the apartment, took her downstairs and put her in a cab.

"I sat in there still stunned by what happened the night before, confused and devastated by the idea that someone I admired so much had tried to take advantage of me, and used drugs to do so. Had I done something to encourage his actions?" the model alleges. "In reality, I knew I'd done nothing to encourage Cosby but my mind kept turning with question after question."

She claims that it took a few days for the effects of the drug to wear off and, when she called Cosby's private number to confront him, his wife answered. Camille Cosby was very polite, Johnson wrote, adding that she apologized for calling so late and then never tried calling again.

"How could I fight someone that boldly arrogant and out of touch?" Johnson wrote. "In the end, just like the other women, I had too much to lose to go after Bill Cosby. I had a career that would no doubt take a huge hit if I went public with my story and I certainly couldn't afford that after my costly divorce and on going court fees."

The now 62-year-old model, actress and reality-TV star further explained that Cosby accuser Barbara Bowman's op-ed in the Washington Post and Janice Dickinson's explosive interview with Entertainment Tonight, both of which contributed to the onslaught of revived accusations against Cosby, helped inspire her to come forward now after all these years.