Bill Cosby trial

Bill Cosby 101: Why, all of a sudden, everyone’s talking about rape allegations


Bill Cosby has been back in headlines since comedian Hannibal Buress brought up the rape allegations against him during a standup act in Philadelphia last month. On Monday, he (or his social media manager) invited the internet to make memes of his pictures, and it led to a lot of people accusing him of sexual assault.

Cosby also spoke at a Veteran’s Day event in Philadelphia, where local congressman Chaka Fattah suggested Philadelphia should have a Bill Cosby month.

Fattah later told Philly Mag Cosby was “innocent until proven guilty” when asked whether honoring Cosby was such a good idea.

Here’s what you need to know:

When did the allegations start?

In 2000, an actress named Lachele Covington filed a police report accusing Cosby of trying to guide her hand down his pants, according to the New York Post. She said she pulled her hand away. The Manhattan District Attorney’s office investigated, and decided no crime had been committed.

But many media reports say 13 women accused him of sexual assault. What about that?

That stems from a 2005 case. In January 2005, a woman who worked for the women’s basketball team at Temple accused Cosby of drugging and fondling her. The accusation stemmed from an alleged incident that happened a year earlier at Cosby’s Main Line mansion. She claimed Cosby gave her what he called an herbal medication that made her woozy and tired and then groped her breasts and genitals. The Montgomery County D.A. declined to file charges because of insufficient evidence.

Shortly after the D.A.’s decision, the woman filed a lawsuit against Cosby. Thirteen other women came forward alleging Cosby had sexually assaulted them and were prepared to testify.

How was the lawsuit resolved?

The woman who brought the suit settled in November 2006. No details were disclosed aside from a short statement that said the parties had “resolved their differences, and, therefore, the litigation has been dismissed pursuant to local court rule.”

What kind of stories did the other women have to tell about Cosby?

Though they never testified in court, several of the 13 women shared their stories that alleged sexual assault from Cosby with news outlets like the “Today” show and People.

A sampling of what they said:

After she complained of an illness, Cosby offered a woman acquaintance two pills at a Los Angeles restaurant in the 1970s. She recalled becoming weak and Cosby offering her a ride home. She said he then brought her to her bed, undressed her and started groping her before she was able to fight him off.

Another woman said that in the mid-80s she drank a cappuccino in his dressing room and then blacked out. She said she woke up in her car with her clothes scattered about. She said she asked Cosby about what happened, and he said they would never speak about it again.

Has his career been affected?

Not really. Cosby won the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor in 2009 and had one of his albums inducted into the Grammy’s Hall of Fame in 2012. NBC signed him to a new sitcom that could debut next year. A biography of Cosby by the then-editor of Newsweek magazine omitted these allegations.

Was Hannibal Buress the first person to bring up the rape allegations in some time?

Not quite. Earlier this year, as more scrutiny was placed on Woody Allen for past allegations of abuse, Gawker brought up Cosby’s history. Newsweek also interviewed the woman who accused Cosby of assaulting her in the 70s earlier this year.

What does Cosby have to say about all of his sexual assault allegations?


Daily News columnist Jenice Armstrong broached the subject in a phone interview with Cosby last Friday. He said, “Noooo, no, no, no. Look at the beauty of what we had here.”

On Tuesday, after the Veteran’s Day ceremony, Philly Mag’s Victor Fiorillo approached Cosby and asked if he had any response to the sexual assault allegations. Here’s what happened:

At first, he grimaced, and his bodyguards tried to move him away from me.

“No, wait, wait wait,” he told them.

“Come here,” he said to me. And then he leaned over in my ear and whispered “no.” And as he moved away from me, he treated me to that beautiful Bill Cosby smile.

Want some more? Explore other Bill Cosby trial stories.

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