Bringing the total of alleged Bill Cosby victims to over 40, two more women came forward to accuse the comedian of rape: a former Cosby Show actress and a writer.
Actress Lili Bernard and writer Sammie Mays described their memories of assault at a Friday press conference called by Gloria Allred. While it might seem, at this point, like these powerful revelations have no power to affect Cosby today, this case may be a watershed moment in the case against the comedian. Bernard’s alleged rape happened in New Jersey, where there is no statute of limitations on sexual assault. According to Allred, Bernard reported the assault to the Atlantic City police the day before the press conference.
The details of their stories are sickening and, to anyone who has been following the string of accusations against Cosby, familiar: both women claim Cosby drugged and assaulted them. As Vulture reported, Bernard said her attack occurred in the early ’90s, under the guise of a “mentoring session”:
“After he had won my complete trust and adoration, he drugged me and raped me,” she said, adding that the comedian later threatened her, “You’re dead, Bernard. You don’t exist. I never want to see your face again.”
Mays said she met Cosby in the ’80s at a conference. He invited her back to his hotel room, mixed her a drink, and when she regained consciousness, her belt was loose and “her bra was pulled to the side.”
Tonight, Cosby is performing at the Cobb Center in Atlanta, Georgia. Care2, an activism social network, has planned a “peaceful protest” of the show alongside Cosby accusers and their supporters. The protest follows a Care2 petition, which garnered over 14,000 signatures, demanded Outback Concerts cancel Cosby’s show.
Cosby responded to the petition on April 27 by posting a 19-second video announcing that his show would go on as scheduled. Without directly addressing the mounting allegations against him, Cosby just said: “I’m going to perform because I love it when you laugh. I love it when you smile. I love it! Cobb Energy Arts Center, 8 p.m.”
Friday’s new accusations come on the heels of the claims of three additional women, who came forward less than two weeks ago, at a separate press conference also helmed by Allred: Janice Baker-Kinney, Autumn Burns, and Marcella Tate,
Kinney says Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted her in May of 1982, when she was 24 years old and working at Harrah’s in Reno as a bartender; he invited her to a house owned by Harrah’s for a “pizza party,” where he subsequently gave her two pills. She remembered waking up later in a state of mid-undress — jeans unzipped, blouse open — and was carried upstairs by Cosby to a bedroom. As TIME reported, “The following morning, she woke up next to a naked Cosby who was touching her belly and genital area. She said she quickly got dressed and before she walked out the front door Cosby allegedly said: ‘this is between you and me’ and he put his finger to his mouth like a ‘shhhh’ sign.'”
Burns was 20 years old at the time of her alleged assault; she was a model and a game starter at the Sahara in Las Vegas. Cosby told her he could help her modeling and acting careers. After giving her $500 of gambling money and inviting her to his room, he made her a drink: “I felt woozy and he asked me to come into the bedroom,” where she says he subsequently assaulted her.
Tate reports that she was assaulted by Cosby at the Playboy Mansion in 1975. “He gave me a drink and that was my last clear memory”) She was 27 at the time, a model who had only met Cosby a handful of times before her alleged assault.