Bill Cosby filed a defamation lawsuit Monday against Beverly Johnson, the supermodel who is one of more than 50 women who have accused the comedian of sexual assault. The lawsuit was filed in California by Cosby’s lawyer Monique Pressley.
Cosby was sued last December for defamation by seven of the women he allegedly assaulted during the height of his career. The comedian filed a countersuit in that case just last week, saying the women involved in the original suit had defamed him by making allegations that he has continued to deny.
— Monique Pressley (@MoniquePressley) December 21, 2015
This latest lawsuit is against Johnson, who, like many of Cosby’s alleged victims, has spoken out with claims of having been taken advantage of by the famous comedian. In a piece for Vanity Fair last November, Johnson recalled an alleged incident from her younger modeling days when she said Cosby drugged her. She said she called him an expletive before managing to get away from the older man.
“Mr. Cosby states that he never drugged defendant and her story is a lie. The suit further states that defendant’s entirely fabricated accusations are nothing more than an opportunistic attempt to resuscitate her own career and benefit financially from the wave of media attention surrounding her false allegations against Mr. Cosby,” Pressley said in a statement Monday.
The statement also alleges that Johnson hopes to boost sales of her memoir, which includes a chapter about her allegations against Cosby. In the lawsuit, Cosby is asking for compensatory and punitive damages, a permanent injunction against Johnson preventing her from making further statements about him and an injunction requiring Johnson to publicly apologize and correct her statements. This would include removing the chapter from her book and removing unsold copies with the Cosby chapter from circulation, according to Pressley’s statement.
Earlier this fall, Johnson told various media outlets that she had forgiven Cosby, and that she did not want to be angry anymore.
“I'm never angry. I don't carry anger and bitterness," Johnson told the Hollywood Reporter in September. “It's a part of who I am and how I was taught and so forgiving is a part of that process.”
Cosby has seen other backlash in addition to the defamation suit from some of his accusers. Boston University announced last week it would revoke the honorary degree it conferred upon him in 2014, saying his conduct “fails to reflect the integrity and virtues that the University values and esteems in members of its community, and in the persons the University holds up for this particular honor.”