5 women sue Bill Cosby, NBC over alleged sexual abuse

5 women sue Bill Cosby, NBC over alleged sexual abuse

Five women are suing disgraced actor Bill Cosby for acts of sexual abuse — including an alleged incident in his “The Cosby Show” dressing room — which happened as they attempted to break into show business several decades ago.

The alleged victims said Cosby, 85, had posed as a mentor to them — but he instead drugged them, groped them, raped them and sexually abused them as far back as 1969, according to a lawsuit they filed Monday evening in Manhattan Supreme Court.

The plaintiffs are also suing three companies — NBC Universal Media, Kaufman Astoria Studios and the Carsey-Werner Company — for their apparent failures to intervene and protect the women.

They said the companies in effect “condoned and encouraged” the abuse by their alleged inaction.

The five women — Lili Bernard, Eden Tirl, Jewel Gittens, Jennifer Thompson and Cindra Ladd — said Cosby volunteered to mentor them, but instead violated them when they were young and vulnerable. Four said the abuse occurred in the late 80s and early 90s.

Bernard, who played the role of Mrs. Minifield on “The Cosby Show,” said the former sitcom star drugged and raped her on two occasions in 1990.

During the second alleged assault, she said she awoke while Cosby was on top of her and screamed “No,” before he smothered her with a pillow, court papers say.

He also forced her to perform oral sex on him in a separate incident at his Manhattan home, after which she said she planned to go to police and the hospital, the suit alleges.

“In response, Bill Cosby told Ms. Bernard that if she went to the police or the hospital, he would seek criminal charges against her for making a false accusation, make sure that she stays in prison for a long time, sue her for defamation, ‘blacklist’ her from the entertainment industry, and ‘erase’ her,” the suit claims.

“Bill Cosby then pushed Ms. Bernard down the stairs and out of his home.”

The TV star, once known as “America’s Dad,” loudly threatened to fire her and yelled “sexual profanities” at her on the set of “The Cosby Show” in front of production crew and other actors.

Bernard said Cosby’s abuse made her fearful for her life and career.

Lili Bernard
Lili Bernard, who had a minor role on “The Cosby Show,” said Cosby drugged and raped her on two occasions.

Eden Tirl
Eden Tirl said Cosby locked her in his dressing room, touched her breasts and pressed his penis into her back.

Jennifer Thompson and her husband director Kenny Leon
Jennifer Thompson Thompson said Cosby forced her to rub his penis in his home when she was only 18.

Cindra Ladd
Cindra Ladd said Cosby raped her while she was blacked out from a pill he gave her.

Her fellow plaintiff, Tirl, said she was offered a small part as a police officer on “The Cosby Show” in 1989 and was repeatedly invited to the star’s dressing room for lunch and refused each time until an employee Frank Scotti “grabbed her by the arm and physically escorted her to the dressing room” in front of other staffers at least four times.

Tirl, who has publicly accused Cosby in the past, told employees of Kaufman Astoria, Carsey-Werner and NBC that she was uncomfortable — even breaking down to tears over the humiliation, the suit states.

On three of the times, Tirl was able to escape the dressing room before Cosby arrived. On the fourth time, Cosby entered the room, locked the door and restrained her, she alleged.

Cosby allegedly “touched her breasts with her consent, forcibly pressed his penis into Ms. Tirl’s back without her consent, and forcibly kissed her neck without her consent, and then whispered, ‘This is all we were going to do. Make love. This is making love.’”

NBC sign and icon
NBC Universal Media was named in the suit for its failure to protect the five plaintiffs’ from Cosby’s alleged abuse.
NurPhoto via Getty Images
Kaufman Astoria Studios sign
Kaufman Astoria Studio was also named in the suit for its failure to protect the five plaintiffs’ from Cosby’s alleged abuse.
Hulton Archive

Plaintiff Gittens, who had been talking to Cosby about getting a role on his show, said the actor had drugged and assaulted her in his Manhattan home in the late 1980s, according to the suit.

She said he allegedly drugged, reached under skirt, anally penetrated her with his finger and ejaculated, the suit states.

Thompson, who was just 17 years old when she first met Cosby in a meeting arranged by a modeling agent, said he forced her to touch his penis and masturbate him in his Manhattan home after she turned 18.

The last plaintiff, Ladd, said she became “platonic friends” with Cosby in 1969. She alleged that on one of their outings at a movie theater, he gave her an unidentified pill to help with a headache that caused her to black out.

She said when she woke up, she was lying in bed with Cosby in a robe nearby “with indications that Bill Cosby had vaginally raped her without her consent while she was blacked out, including his semen on and between her legs.”

The women are able to bring the lawsuit forward now due to New York’s recently enacted Adult Survivors Act, which suspends the statute of limitations for one year, allowing adult victims of sex assault to bring their abusers to court.

“With the passage of the [Adult Survivors Act], these five women can now come forward and pursue justice for what was done of them,” the plaintiff’s lawyer Jordan Merson said.

Cosby has been accused by dozens of women of sexual assault over the past several years, and has adamantly denied the charges.

He was found guilty of three counts of aggravated indecent assault in 2018 and sentenced to 10 years in jail. He appealed the decision to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, which overturned his conviction, leading to his release in June 2021.

Most recently, a Santa Monica civil trial jury found him guilty in June of sexually abusing a teen girl in 1975.

The Post was unable to reach a representative for Cosby Monday night, however the former actor has vehemently denied any accusations of sexual abuse in the past.

Representatives for NBC, Astoria Kaufman Studios and Carsey Werner didn’t immediately respond to request for comment on the litigation.

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