Bill Cosby And NBCUniversal Sued By Ex-Co-Stars For Sexual Assault
Two former The Cosby Show actors and three other women filed a lawsuit against Bill Cosby and NBCUniversal for sexual assault and battery on December 5 in New York State Court.
Lili Bernard and Eden Tirl, with Jewel Gittens, Jennifer Thompson, and Cindra Ladd, brought the 34-page lawsuit to court. Their lawsuit details the abuse they received after meeting the actor in the late 1960s through the 1990s. The women claim that he had used his “enormous power in such a nefarious, horrific way.”
According to the plaintiffs, NBCUniversal, along with Kaufman Astoria Studios, Inc., and The Carsey-Werner Company, LLC, are “culpable and liable” because they knew the sexual assaults happened on their premises but did nothing to stop it. The Defendants are all part of the production of The Cosby Show that ran on NBC from 1984 to 1992.
“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 Lawyer Jordan Rutsky, who represents the plaintiffs against Bill Cosby and NBCUniversal. “This was not a hidden secret that Bill Cosby was doing these things. it was just accepted.”
Cosby’s Previous Sexual Assault Cases
Although the Bill Cosby and NBCUniversal case might be unique for including the studio in the lawsuit, the sexual assault case against Bill Cosby has been on the news since 2015. The actor was found guilty of sexual assault against Andrea Constand in 2018. He was then sentenced to 10 years in prison by a Pennsylvania Judge. This was the first trial of the #MeToo movement. Colby served three years in prison before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned his case. The court ruled that Colby’s due process rights were violated and released him from prison on June 30 last year.
Earlier this year, California Jury found that Bill Cosby sexually assaulted Ruth Hult in 1975. The jurors awarded Hult, a minor at that time, $500,000 as reparations. While the suit was not a criminal case, Hult said that “the verdict is vindication for her and other women who have come forward with similar stories of abuse.” Colby has refused to pay Hult as of yet.
Throughout the years, many accusations against the actor have surfaced. At least over 60 women accused Bill Cosby of sexual harassment in 2014 and 2015. Most of these accusations follow the same allegation of pills and alcohol that entails in the Bill Cosby and NBCUniversal lawsuit. Only Constand and Hult’s cases have ever graced the courts before.
Now that there is a lawsuit against Bill Cosby and NBCUniversal, the women have set a precedent that studios are also accountable for turning a blind eye to the abuse within the industry.
The New York Lookback Act that Implicated Bill Cosby and NBCUniversal
The case filed against Bill Cosby and NBCUniversal was only possible because of the Adult Survivors Act (ASA). The act was passed in New York City last month. Under the act, sexual assault survivors will have a one-year window to file a lawsuit against their preparators after their statute of limitation expires. As Sexual Assault is a traumatizing crime, victims usually have difficulty coming to terms with the abuse they experienced. This Lookback act gives them more time to process the crime and come forward.
Despite the fact that the alleged assault happened decades ago, ASA suspended the statute of limitations for certain sexual assault crimes from November 24, 2022 until November 24, 2023 in the state. The act allowed the women to file the lawsuit against Bill Cosby and NBCUniversal.
Cosby’s spokesperson Andrew Wyatt again denied the allegations, claiming that the lawsuit is “All About Money” and calling it frivolous. NBCUniversal refused to comment on the legal issues.
Whether or not the five plaintiffs win the case against Bill Cosby and NBCUniversal, this lawsuit is a big step toward justice against abusers and their supporters.
Paul is many things. He's a fan of anime, superheroes, and everything in between. He dedicates his downtime to annoying the heck out of his cats and dog.