Beverly Johnson described the "life-threatening" experience of being drugged by Bill Cosby during the 1980s in an interview with HuffPost Live's Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani on Friday.
The supermodel first recounted the allegations in a searing Vanity Fair essay published Thursday in which she describes Cosby inviting her to his home to read for a part for "The Cosby Show" and demanding that Johnson drink a cappuccino. She insisted she didn't want a drink but "felt oddly inappropriate arguing with Bill Cosby." She writes:
I knew by the second sip of the drink Cosby had given me that I’d been drugged—and drugged good. My head became woozy, my speech became slurred, and the room began to spin nonstop. ... As I felt my body go completely limp, my brain switched into automatic-survival mode. That meant making sure Cosby understood that I knew exactly what was happening at that very moment. “You are a motherfucker aren’t you?” That’s the exact question I yelled at him as he stood there holding me, expecting me to bend to his will.
Johnson explained to HuffPost Live what went through her mind at the exact moment she realized "[her] life was in danger."
"For me it's one of the most vile names you can call someone -- a motherfucker. There's nothing more vile than telling someone that," Johnson said. "Because I was drugged, I couldn't express myself in a way where I could say, 'Excuse me, Mr. Cosby, you just drugged me.' ... This was my way of letting him know, 'I know you drugged me, and I don't like it, and I'm going to fight you right now.'"
In her piece for Vanity Fair, Johnson recalls Cosby's "seething anger" as she fought back. She alleges he dragged her down the stairs with such force that she thought he might break her neck, then he put her in a taxi. As she described to HuffPost Live what happened next, it became clear what a serious effect Cosby's power and influence had on Johnson's shame about what happened to her.
"I remember so clearly, as we pulled away from Cosby's house, saying, 'Did I just call Bill Cosby a motherfucker?' And then I passed out. Instead of worrying about me, I'm worrying about what I just called this man, one of the most revered men in Hollywood and maybe even in the world at that moment," she said.
Johnson struggled to pinpoint exactly how she felt the next morning.
"I was devastated and disappointed. I can't explain this feeling. It was like a family member had died or betrayed me in a such a way. I was numb," she said.
Asked what she hopes will happen to Cosby now, Johnson said punishing him is "not [her] purpose." Instead, she hopes this national conversation will free other victims of sexual abuse to speak out.
"This is not about Bill Cosby. He is just a lightning rod. And thank you very much, Bill Cosby, for that," Johnson said.
Johnson is the latest in a continually-growing group of women who allege Cosby abused them. Her account is one of the few that does not include accusations of rape.
Below is a list of women who have come forward with allegations about Cosby, dated to the time that the allegations were made public. As more claims emerge, this timeline will be updated.