The Slatest

Pioneering Model Beverly Johnson Says Bill Cosby Drugged Her in the 1980s

Beverly Johnson attends a fashion show in September 2014.  

Photo by Ben Gabbe/Getty Images

On Thursday model Beverly Johnson came forward adding her story to the ever-growing list of allegations against Bill Cosby. Johnson, who was the first black woman to appear on the cover of Vogue, wrote a personal, first-hand account in Vanity Fair about an episode in the 1980s when Cosby spiked her drink and drugged her.

Johnson, who was struggling to break into movies at the time, recalls her excitement when Cosby wanted her to audition for a small part on The Cosby Show. After a couple of meetings, during which Cosby appeared to want to mentor Johnson, she went to dinner at Cosby’s home. After dinner, Cosby offered her a cappuccino. Here’s how Johnson describes what happened next in Vanity Fair:

I told him I didn’t drink coffee that late in the afternoon because it made getting to sleep at night more difficult. He wouldn’t let it go. He insisted that his espresso machine was the best model on the market and promised I’d never tasted a cappuccino quite like this one. 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. “You are a motherfucker aren’t you?”

… What happened next is somewhat cloudy for me because the drug was in fuller play by that time. I recall his seething anger at my tirade and then him grabbing me by my left arm hard and yanking all 110 pounds of me down a bunch of stairs as my high heels clicked and clacked on every step. I feared my neck was going to break with the force he was using to pull me down those stairs. It was still late afternoon and the sun hadn’t completely gone down yet. When we reached the front door, he pulled me outside of the brownstone and then, with his hand still tightly clenched around my arm, stood in the middle of the street waving down taxis. When one stopped, Cosby opened the door, shoved me into it and slammed the door behind me without ever saying a word.

“For a long time I thought it was something that only happened to me, and that I was somehow responsible. So I kept my secret to myself, believing this truth needed to remain in the darkness,” Johnson writes. “But the last four weeks have changed everything, as so many women have shared similar stories, of which the press have belatedly taken heed.”