Cosby sitcom scrapped by NBC amid new rape allegations

Updated

Comedian Bill Cosby is fending off fresh accusations that he drugged and raped former model Janice Dickinson, amid news that his upcoming Netflix special has been postponed and his planned new sitcom for NBC has been scrapped.

Dickinson, 59, initially claimed in 2002 that Cosby took advantage of her in 1982 when he was ostensibly auditioning her for a role on his iconic sitcom “The Cosby Show.” She reiterated her story Tuesday on “Entertainment Tonight,” alleging that Cosby’s attorneys prevented her from recounting the incident in a previously published memoir.

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On “Entertainment Tonight” Dickinson described a disturbing encounter that allegedly took place following a dinner between Dickinson and Cosby in Lake Tahoe. “The next morning I woke up, and I wasn’t wearing my pajamas, and I remember before I passed out that I had been sexually assaulted by this man,” she said on the show. “… Before I woke up in the morning, the last thing I remember was Bill Cosby in a patchwork robe, dropping his robe and getting on top of me. And I remember a lot of pain. The next morning I remember waking up with my pajamas off and there was semen in between my legs.”

Cosby’s attorneys have vehemently denied Dickinson’s accusations. In a statement released to NBC News, Cosby’s lawyer Marty Singer said: “You can confirm with Harper Collins that she never claimed that Mr. Cosby raped her, that no attorney representing Bill Cosby tried to kill the story … and no one tried to prevent anything she wanted to say about Bill Cosby in her book.” 

“There is documentary proof that Janice Dickinson is fabricating and lying about Bill Cosby,” Singer added. Harper Collins declined to comment on the story when contacted by NBC News.

Meanwhile, Cosby has never been charged in connection with any of the allegations of sexual assault.

Late on Tuesday, Netflix announced that it was postponing the debut of a stand-up special it was planning to stream entitled “Cosby 77”. The special, directed by Robert Townsend, was filmed on the comedian’s 77th birthday. A new sitcom Cosby had in development with NBC, the network which aired “The Cosby Show” from 1984 to 1992, has also been shelved. NBC confirmed that it was terminating the project on Wednesday but offered no further comment. All reruns of “The Cosby Show” have also been pulled from TV Land, effective immediately, the television channel confirmed Wednesday night to NBC News.

Dickinson is arguably the most high profile of Cosby’s accusers. Several other women have come forward in the wake of a comedy routine by Hannibal Buress that went viral, and alleged similar encounters with Cosby over several years. Cosby’s attorneys have said that the legendary stand-up and comic actor has denied all the allegations made against him. 

“Over the last several weeks, decade-old, discredited allegations against Mr. Cosby have resurfaced,” John P. Schmitt said in the statement on Nov. 16. “The fact that they are being repeated does not make them true. Mr. Cosby does not intend to dignify these allegations with any comment.”

Despite the ongoing controversy, an upcoming live performance by Cosby at the King Center for the Performing Arts in Florida is still on. Cosby’s management said Wednesday: “Mr. Cosby is a well-respected member of the entertainment community and one of America’s most beloved performers. While we are aware of the allegations reported in the press, we are only in a position to judge him based on his career as an entertainer and humanitarian. His sold out show at the King Center for the Performing Arts this Friday, November 21 will go on as scheduled.” Cameras will not be allowed in the theater.

Cosby will also appear at Las Vegas’ Treasure Island hotel on Nov. 28. “All of his shows here have been sellouts; we have no reason to think that this one won’t be, too.” a representative for the hotel told NBC’s “TODAY”. “However, if anyone wants to return his or her tickets, he or she is welcome to, just as is our policy with all of our shows.”

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Cosby sitcom scrapped by NBC amid new rape allegations

Updated