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On Wednesday morning, attorney Gloria Allred revealed that three women she represents would come forward with accusations against Bill Cosby.
At a press conference that afternoon, Allred explained why former flight attendant Colleen Hughes and former actresses Linda Ridgeway Whitedeer and Eden Tirl decided to speak out now. Allred opened the press conference by discussing New York magazine’s cover story with 35 of the 46 accusers and the powerful series of interviews and videos, referencing the one chair left empty on the cover. “Today that empty chair is filled by three new women, who alleged that they were victimized by Mr. Cosby,” Allred said.
Before giving the podium to the women, Allred mentioned the comments made by Cosby’s lawyer Monique Pressley, who stopped by HuffPost Live in July. During her interview, Pressley said that the women who came forward “waited too long” to report their experience. “I don’t think that 10, 20, 30, 40 years later, people get to decide to come forward,” Pressley said on HuffPost Live.
Allred called Pressley’s comments a “pathetic attempt to defend Mr. Cosby,” adding that “enough is enough.” Allred then challenged Pressley to a public debate. “Instead of trying to change the subject from specific allegations to vague truisms about the criminal justice system, I challenge you to debate me,” Allred said. “Stand up like a woman and do it and please do not give some ridiculous excuse as to why you will not accept the challenge.”
After Allred’s message to Cosby’s attorney, Whitedeer then told her story, alleging she was sexually assaulted by Cosby during an audition. In her statement, Whitedeer said, “When Cosby was done, there was a horrible mess of semen all over my face. I bordered on vomiting.” After the alleged attack, Whitedeer said, “He was mumbling that I had been blessed with his seamen as if it was holy water.”
“Even to this day,” she continued, “I am still ashamed. […] It is my turn to take the empty chair that I saw on the cover because I was assaulted in the chair in a job interview and I was not drugged.”
The video below includes graphic language viewers may find upsetting to watch:
Colleen Hughes, a former flight attendant, read a statement recounting the American Airlines flight she met the comedian on years ago. Hughes said the comedian offered to take her to lunch at an Los Angeles hotel. When they arrived at the hotel, she said they went to the comedian’s room where they shared a glass of champagne. Hughes said she woke up hours later confused, and realized she had been drugged and sexually assaulted.
“I was shocked. I didn’t know how I had lost so much time. My clothes were thrown all over the room and I felt semen on the small of my back and all over me,” she said.
A year later, Hughes saw Cosby on another flight in which he allegedly began flirting with her again. “I told him, ‘You already had me once and I don’t want to be drugged again.'”
Eden Tirl, who appeared on “The Cosby Show,” spoke next. Tirl was 22 years old when she was cast as a cop during the show’s fifth season. Tirl claimed that when she was left alone in a room with Cosby, he sexually harassed her. “I never came forward in 1989,” she said. “I knew that I had been sexually harassed, I knew I should say something.”
Despite all the allegations against Cosby, the actor has never been charged with a crime. However, a judge recently ordered the 78-year-old to be deposed in a lawsuit brought against him by a woman accusing him of sexually assaulting her at the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles when she was 15 years old. The deposition marks the first time Cosby has been directed to testify under oath in response to complaints of sexual misconduct against him since he was deposed in a separate case and settled out of court nine years ago.
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