NEW YORK CITY — The allegations about Bill Cosby keep coming.
For decades, Cosby was thought of in glowing terms as a perceptive comedian, upbeat pitchman and genial father figure. His public personality made him more than rich — it made him a role model, admired for his support of education and his no-nonsense talks on parenting and achievement.
In recent weeks, that persona has been paired with another, much darker image.
On Tuesday, the famed comedian and TV star was accused of rape by Janice Dickinson, a former model. In an interview on “Entertainment Tonight,” Dickinson claimed Cosby assaulted her in 1982 after the two had dinner in Lake Tahoe.
Cosby attorney Marty Singer was blunt in his response.
“Janice Dickinson’s story accusing Bill Cosby of rape is a lie,” he told CNN in a statement. “There is a glaring contradiction between what she is claiming now for the first time and what she wrote in her own book and what she told the media back in 2002. Ms. Dickinson did an interview with the New York Observer in September 2002 entitled ‘Interview With a Vamp’ completely contradicting her new story about Mr. Cosby.
“That interview a dozen years ago said ‘she didn’t want to go to bed with him and he blew her off.’ Her publisher HarperCollins can confirm that no attorney representing Mr. Cosby tried to kill the alleged rape story (since there was no such story) or tried to prevent her from saying whatever she wanted about Bill Cosby in her book.”
He added, “Documentary proof and Ms. Dickinson’s own words show that her new story about something she now claims happened back in 1982 is a fabricated lie.”
Dickinson’s allegations come on the heels of other rape accusations. Cosby has repeatedly said the allegations are untrue. He has never been prosecuted.
Over the weekend, Cosby was asked about “serious allegations raised about you” by NPR’s Scott Simon.
“Do you have any response to those charges?” Simon asked.
In response, Cosby shook his head in silence.
On Sunday, Cosby attorney John P. Schmitt released a written statement. “Over the last several weeks, decade-old, discredited allegations against Mr. Cosby have resurfaced,” Schmitt said. “The fact that they are being repeated does not make them true. Mr. Cosby does not intend to dignify these allegations with any comment.”
The accusations have received wide publicity in recent weeks, spurred in particular by two events: a viral video of comedian Hannibal Buress in which he called Cosby a “rapist,” and an attempt to create a Cosby meme sponsored by Cosby’s Twitter account. The latter led to many images of Cosby with the rape accusations emblazoned over his picture.
The allegations have taken a toll on Cosby’s family-friendly, fatherly image. On Tuesday, Netflix announced that a Cosby special, set to debut November 28, would be postponed. Then, on Wednesday, his old network, NBC, announced that a Cosby show in the workshas been scuttled. And TV Land announced late Thursday it would no longer air reruns of the The Cosby Show.
The events detailed by Cosby’s accusers took place over many decades. Five women have gone on record in describing them. Another woman, Andrea Constand, approached Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, authorities in 2005, but prosecutors decided they had “insufficient credible and admissible evidence.”
“The desire on our part to move forward was pretty strong,” Bruce Castor, then the Montgomery County district attorney, told CNN’s “New Day” on Wednesday. “The problem with the case was she waited a year until she told police about it.”
At the time, Cosby lawyer Walter M. Phillips Jr. told CNN the allegations were “utterly preposterous” and “plainly bizarre.”
Constand later filed a civil suit. Her lawyers said they found 13 Jane Doe witnesses with similar stories. However, Constand’s suit was settled in November 2006, and the witnesses were never called. Terms have not been disclosed.