UNITED STATES: 85-year-old comedian Bill Cosby is being sued by five women who have long accused him of sexually assaulting them in the early stages of their careers.
This lawsuit accuses NBCUniversal, a studio and production firm, of being complicit in the abuse.
The complaint was filed more than a year after Cosby was released from prison following the Pennsylvania court’s annulment of his 2018 sexual assault conviction.
A woman who claimed that Cosby had sexually assaulted her at the Playboy Mansion in 1975 when she was a teenager was given $500,000 this year by a Los Angeles jury.
The accusers, Lili Bernard, Eden Tirl, Jewel Gittens, Jennifer Thompson, and Cindra Ladd, are parties to the case, which was filed on Monday in accordance with New York’s one-year time limit for adults to report sexual abuse.
The lawsuit claims that after meeting the actor on the set or through other entertainment industry connections between the late 1960s and the 1990s, each lady was subjected to abuse or assault by him.
“It was well known that Bill Cosby would regularly take young women into his dressing room, and when you read the complaint, you’ll see there were instances where staff saw this happening and even encouraged the plaintiff to submit,” said the five women’s legal counsel, Jordan Rutsky.
Bill Cosby’s involvement in these activities was not a secret, according to Rutsky. “It was just accepted.”
The lawsuit claimed that by failing to check Cosby’s power and inclinations and neglecting to safeguard the ladies from being alone with him because they benefitted from his work, NBC, Kaufman Astoria Studios, and Carsey-Werner Television “facilitated the sexual assault of women.”
According to the lawsuit, Cosby first gave the women drugs through beverages or pills he provided in at least some cases. The “accusers have resurfaced to file a frivolous civil lawsuit,” according to Cosby spokesman Andrew Wyatt.
The Cosby Show was broadcast on NBCUniversal from 1984 until 1992.
Before the state high court overturned the conviction and found that Cosby had given false testimony in a deposition about the incident only after falsely assuming he was immune from prosecution, Cosby had spent nearly three years in prison.
Both the trial judge and a lower appeals court had concluded that there was no proof of this immunity.
Bernard, who performed the role of Mrs. Minifield on The Cosby Show in the early 1990s, is also suing Cosby in New Jersey for an alleged encounter that took place in Atlantic City.
Following Cosby’s conviction in Pennsylvania, seven additional accusers who had filed a Massachusetts defamation suit were compensated by his insurers.
In denying their charges of assault, Cosby and his representatives, according to their lawsuit, disparaged them.