Bill Cosby's Been Facing Many Rape Accusations. Now A Model Comes Forward About How He Drugged Her.

If a famous man once tried to drug you, would you tell? Even for the famous model Beverly Johnson, opening up about Bill Cosby drugging her took her many years. Now she's doing it. It was hard for her, but we can all learn a thing or two about why she decided it was important to do.

As of December 2014, there have been 19 public rape and sexual assault allegations against Bill Cosby.

Some of the sexual assault allegations had already happened years before, but they were forgotten until these allegations slowly crept back into the media. In October 2014, comedian Hannibal Buress made a reference to the allegations in a skita skit that went viral.

Slowly, the momentum around the allegations built, and many women came forward using their real names and alleging Cosby had assaulted them.


And then a big-name model came forward with an allegation — but it wasn't sexual assault.

On Dec. 11, 2014, model Beverly Johnson wrote an essay in Vanity Fair, saying that Cosby drugged her.

In case you don't know, in 1974, Johnson was American Vogue's first black cover model. She became huge in the fashion world for breaking boundaries for black models.

Johnson begins the essay by talking about she got on "The Cosby Show."

About 10 years after Johnson's big break as a model, an agent called her and said Cosby wanted her to try out for his show. "The Cosby Show" was *huge*, and Johnson was having a hard time financially, so taking up the opportunity was a no-brainer.

One day, Cosby invited her back to his place.

"Cosby suggested I come back to his house a few days later to read for the part. I agreed, and one late afternoon the following week I returned. His staff served a light dinner and Bill and I talked more about my plans for the future."

At one point, Cosby served her an espresso, which made Johnson lose her bearings.

Fortunately, Johnson realized she must have been drugged, and she made sure Cosby knew.

"Now let me explain this: I was a top model during the 70s, a period when drugs flowed at parties and photo shoots like bottled water at a health spa. I'd had my fun and experimented with my fair share of mood enhancers. I knew by the second sip of the drink Cosby had given me that I'd been drugged — and drugged good."

Johnson threw several expletives at Cosby, calling him a "motherf*cker" and yelling at him.

Cosby ended up kicking her out of his house.

According to her account, Johnson says that Cosby became angered by her yelling at him and brusquely took her downstairs and pushed her outside, where she was somehow able to find a cab, despite eventually blacking out and, according to the essay, having no account of how she got home.

Johnson was so afraid to tell anyone about what happened — even over 30 years later.

She had initially blamed herself for what happened, and then after the number of public allegations by women, she realized she was one of many who seemed to have been targeted — even if she was fortunate enough to not have been the victim of a sexual assault.

"Would they dismiss me as an angry black woman intent on ruining the image of one of the most revered men in the African American community over the last 40 years? ...

As I wrestled with the idea of telling my story of the day Bill Cosby drugged me with the intention of doing God knows what, the faces of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and countless other brown and black men took residence in my mind."

Finally, she explains why she decided to open up about being drugged.

Take heed at her words. They are powerful and important. Hopefully, we can all learn from them.

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Disney has come under fire for problematic portrayals of non-white and non-western cultures in many of its older movies. They aren't the only one, of course, but since their movies are an iconic part of most American kids' childhoods, Disney's messaging holds a lot of power.

Fortunately, that power can be used for good, and Disney can serve as an example to other companies if they learn from their mistakes, account for their misdeeds, and do the right thing going forward. Without getting too many hopes up, it appears that the entertainment giant may have actually done just that with the new Frozen II film.

According to NOW Toronto, the producers of Frozen II have entered into a contract with the Sámi people—the Indigenous people of the Scandinavian regions—to ensure that they portray the culture with respect.

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Though there was not a direct portrayal of the Sámi in the first Frozen movie, the choral chant that opens the film was inspired by an ancient Sámi vocal tradition. In addition, the clothing worn by Kristoff closely resembled what a Sámi reindeer herder would wear. The inclusion of these elements of Sámi culture with no context or acknowledgement sparked conversations about cultural appropriation and erasure on social media.

Frozen II features Indigenous culture much more directly, and even addressed the issue of Indigenous erasure. Filmmakers Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck, along with producer Peter Del Vecho, consulted with experts on how to do that respectfully—the experts, of course, being the Sámi people themselves.

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The Sámi parliaments of Norway, Sweden and Finland, and the non-governmental Saami Council reached out to the filmmakers when they found out their culture would be highlighted in the film. They formed a Sámi expert advisory group, called Verddet, to assist filmmakers in with how to accurately and respectfully portray Sámi culture, history, and society.

In a contract signed by Walt Disney Animation Studios and Sámi leaders, the Sámi stated their position that "their collective and individual culture, including aesthetic elements, music, language, stories, histories, and other traditional cultural expressions are property that belong to the Sámi," and "that to adequately respect the rights that the Sámi have to and in their culture, it is necessary to ensure sensitivity, allow for free, prior, and informed consent, and ensure that adequate benefit sharing is employed."

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Disney agreed to work with the advisory group, to produce a version of Frozen II in one Sámi language, as well as to "pursue cross-learning opportunities" and "arrange for contributions back to the Sámi society."

Anne Lájla Utsi, managing director at the International Sámi Film Institute, was part of the Verddet advisory group. She told NOW, "This is a good example of how a big, international company like Disney acknowledges the fact that we own our own culture and stories. It hasn't happened before."

"Disney's team really wanted to make it right," said Utsi. "They didn't want to make any mistakes or hurt anybody. We felt that they took it seriously. And the film shows that. We in Verddet are truly proud of this collaboration."

Sounds like you've done well this time, Disney. Let's hope such cultural sensitivity and collaboration continues, and that other filmmakers and production companies will follow suit.

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