Comedian Bill Cosby broke his long-held policy of not speaking publicly about the numerous sexual assault allegations against him in an exclusive interview with the New York Post.
"Let me say this," the embattled 77-year-old told the Post over the phone from his home in Massachusetts on Friday. "I only expect the black media to uphold the standards of excellence in journalism, and when you do that, you have to go in with a neutral mind."
Despite multiple allegations that Cosby drugged and/or sexually assaulted over 20 women over several decades, he has received some support from prominent members of the African-American community, such as singer Jill Scott and actress Whoopi Goldberg. He has never been charged with a crime, and he previously denied some allegations. In the wake of the resurgence of allegations, Cosby's lawyer has been vocal, calling them false.In recent weeks, a civil suit was filed by a 55-year-old woman who claims Cosby assaulted her at the Playboy mansion 40 years ago, and a new complaint was filed by Tamara Green, a woman who had first accused him of sexual assault in 2005 before settling out of court with the comedian the following year. Cosby's attorney Marty Singer has dismissed the allegations as “unsubstantiated” and “fantastical.”
Still, the ubiquitous negative press coverage has forced Cosby to cancel several dates on his ongoing stand-up comedy tour and may have permanently tarnished his previously sterling public image. The former star of "The Cosby Show" spoke to the Post about how his wife of 50 years, Camille Cosby, has coped with the plethora of accusations against him.
"Love and the strength of womanhood," he said. "Let me say it again, love and the strength of womanhood. And you could reverse it, the strength of womanhood and love."
Cosby didn't make any further remarks on the controversy because he said, "They don’t want me talking to the media."
These remarks come just days after groundbreaking black supermodel Beverly Johnson became the most noteworthy Cosby accuser to date. Although she did not say she was sexually assaulted, in a personal essay she wrote for Vanity Fair, Johnson recounts a disturbing encounter she says she had with Cosby during the height of "The Cosby Show" in the 1980s. Johnson claims that she was drugged while visiting Cosby at his New York City apartment, alleging that after she rebuffed him, Cosby forcibly removed her from his home.
“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,” wrote Johnson.
"This is bigger than Bill Cosby. This is about women and violence against women," Johnson later told NBC's Tamron Hall. "This is about women finding their voice. I feel that Cosby took my power that evening and that I took my power back."