For so many, Bill Cosby, the beloved artist and entertainer, the man who had come to embody the quintessential American dad, disappeared months ago beneath an unprecedented wave of sordid accusations.
But for his dwindling pool of supporters, the words of Cosby’s accusers never seemed to carry as much weight as those from the mouth of the prolific entertainer.
That may have changed after a New York Times report, in which Cosby’s own words – not those of his alleged victims – seem to lend even more credence to the portrait painted by dozens of women who steadfastly maintain that beneath Cosby’s charming exterior lies a devious sexual predator.
The Times reported that Cosby said he used money, multiple prescriptions for sedatives and calculated manipulation to seduce at least five women.
The comedian’s admissions were detailed in a deposition from a decade ago that was obtained by the Times. In it, Cosby answered questions posed to him by a lawyer representing Andrea Constand, who worked at Cosby’s alma mater, Temple University, and accused the entertainer in a civil lawsuit of drugging and molesting her, according to the Times.
Although Cosby has admitted to engaging in multiple extramarital affairs that he attempted to conceal from his wife, he has denied sexually assaulting anyone, including Constand.
In the deposition, he does admit to having seven prescriptions for the sedative Quaaludes at one time, saying he obtained them from a Los Angeles doctor and gave the drug to younger women.
In Constand’s case, excerpts reveal that Cosby told her attorney, Dolores M. Troiani, that he considered the encounter consensual:
I walk her out. She does not look angry. She does not say to me, don’t ever do that again. She doesn’t walk out with an attitude of a huff, because I think that I’m a pretty decent reader of people and their emotions in these romantic sexual things, whatever you want to call them.
He described himself as Constand’s “mentor,” willing to help her with advice and a long list of contacts. When Constand did not follow his instructions and career advice, according to the Times, Cosby expressed a measure of frustration and shock at the idea that his influence and insight were being ignored.
“Here’s a mentor, Bill Cosby, who is in the business, Bill Cosby, who happens to know something about what to do and Andrea is not picking up on it,” he said, according to the report.
He characterized their affair as lighthearted, noting both parties were “playing sex, we’re playing, petting, we’re playing.”
Cosby strikes a boastful tone at some points in the deposition, telling Troiani that he sometimes refrained from sexual intercourse with women because he did not want them to develop romantic feelings for him, according to the Times.
Sex, he said, “is something that I feel the woman will succumb to more of a romance and more of a feeling – not love, but it’s deeper than a playful situation.”
At one point, Troiani asked Cosby about his relationship with Beth Ferrier, a former model who accused Cosby of drugging her with coffee before assaulting her in the mid-1980s. The questioning focuses on a night when Ferrier and Cosby found themselves alone together in his New York City home. Cosby discusses his seduction strategy, which involved asking Ferrier about her father’s battle with cancer.
Q. She says that she stayed with you and that you began talking about her career and asking about her father who had died of cancer. Does any of that ring a bell with you?
Q. Do you remember talking about that?
Q. Do you remember what else you talked about?
A. That’s enough.
Q. Did you ask her those questions because you wanted to have sexual contact with her?
At several points in the deposition, the Times reported, Cosby unveils the elaborate ways in which he attempted to conceal his affairs from his wife, Camille. He told Troiani that he planned to pay for Constand’s educational costs by “our writing a check.”
Q. And our being who?
A. The family.
Q. Would your wife know about that?
A. That’s family. My wife would not know it was because Andrea and I had had sex and that Andrea was now very, very upset and that she decided that she would like to go to school or whatever it is. We can get back on track.
Q. How would you explain to your wife that you were giving this personally as opposed to using the foundation?
A. I would say to her that there is a person I would like to help.
Cosby also detailed an effort to disguise a payment to Therese Serignese – who recently accused the comedian of drugging her in Las Vegas – by rerouting the money through his agent at the William Morris Agency. Afterwards, Cosby said, he would reimburse the agency.
Q. And did that come from your personal account or from the business?
A. That’s from my personal account.
Q. So, was the purpose of that to disguise –
Q. I have to finish my question. Was to disguise that you were paying the money to Theresa?
Q. And the reason you were doing – who were you preventing from knowing that?
A. Mrs. Cosby.
Cosby has never been charged with a crime, and he and his representatives have steadfastly denied the assault claims by an increasingly long list of women. Though he has continued to perform stand-up comedy in recent months, dozens of assault allegations have permanently altered his public image.
Cosby has yet to comment publicly on the Times report. Reached for comment Saturday night, Cosby publicist Andrew Wyatt told CNN, “We’re not making any comments right now. Thank you.”