Cosby, NBC and studio face new sexual harassment lawsuit from 5 people in New York

PHILADELPHIA — Five women who have long accused Bill Cosby of sexually abusing them early in their careers have filed the latest lawsuit against the 85-year-old comedian — and that calls NBCUniversal, a studio and production company complicit in the abuse.

The lawsuit comes more than a year after Cosby left prison after his 2018 sexual assault conviction in Pennsylvania was overturned. Earlier this year, a Los Angeles judge awarded a $500,000 reward to a woman who said Cosby sexually assaulted her at the Playboy Mansion in 1975 when she was a teenager.

Accusers Lili Bernard, Eden Tirl, Jewel Gittens, Jennifer Thompson and Cindra Ladd are involved in the lawsuit, which was filed Monday under New York’s one-year window to file adult sexual abuse complaints. The lawsuit alleges that every woman from the late 1960s to the 1990s was harassed or assaulted by the A-list actor on set or through other entertainment circles.

“Bill Cosby has been known to regularly take young women into the locker room, and when you read the complaint, you will see that there have been instances where staff saw this and even encouraged the plaintiff to surrender,” attorney Jordan said. Rutsky, who represents all five women.

“It was no secret that Bill Cosby did these things,” Rutsky said. “Just accepted.”

The lawsuit alleged that NBC, Kaufman Astoria Studios and Carsey-Werner Television “facilitated the sexual assault of women” by failing to control Cosby’s strength and inclinations, and failed to protect women from being alone with him because they profited from his business. He said that in at least some of the cases, Cosby first drugged the woman with drinks or pills. Cosby spokesman Andrew Wyatt said “the accusers have resurfaced to pursue a frivolous civil action against Cosby”. He surmised that they hoped to get quick payouts from corporate defendants and use those funds to fund their pursuit of Cosby.

A spokesperson for NBCUniversal, the network that aired “The Cosby Show” from 1984 to 1992, said the company would not comment on legal matters. Neither Kaufman Astoria nor Carsey-Werner immediately returned to phone or email messages left Tuesday afternoon for comment.

“This isn’t about justice for alleged victims of sexual assault, it’s all about money,” Wyatt said in a statement, echoing the defense arguments in Cosby’s retrial, where a Pennsylvania jury convicted him of drugging and sexually assaulting a Temple University employee. . At her Philadelphia area home in 2004.

Cosby spent nearly three years in prison before the state Supreme Court overturned the conviction, finding that he had made incriminating testimony in a statement about the encounter only after believing he had immunity from prosecution. The trial judge and an interim appeals court found no evidence of such immunity.

“Mrs. Minifield on “The Cosby Show” in the early 1990s has a lawsuit pending against Cosby in New Jersey over an alleged encounter in Atlantic City.

Seven other accusers settled with Cosby’s underwriters after Pennsylvania was convicted for a libel suit they filed in Massachusetts. His lawsuits said he humiliated Cosby and his agents by denying allegations of harassment.

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