New Lawsuit Could Hamper Actor’s Plan to Break Silence
by Stacy M. Brown
Special to the NNPA from the Washington Informer
A woman claiming she was sexually assaulted by iconic television star Bill Cosby in the 1970s filed suit against him Wednesday for defamation, hiring a D.C. law firm to handle the case.
Joseph Cammarata, of the Northwest firm Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata, & Siegel, PC, said the suit presents a first-of-its-kind opportunity for alleged victim Tamara Green and others who claim they were assaulted by Cosby to have a forum to litigate the accusations.
Green’s suit said Cosby called her a liar and his claims deprived her “of her good name and reputation.”
Meanwhile, two of Cosby’s lawyers and several of his team of publicists have been engaged in ongoing dialogue with The Washington Informer about the possibility of the star breaking his silence about the scurrilous allegations lodged against him.
“We would like to work with you,” Martin Singer, Cosby’s attorney told The Informer. However, this latest lawsuit and a new police investigation appear to have cooled the superstar’s camp on any interview requests and have stalled conversations that seemed to have been leading to an exclusive chat with The Informer and the National Newspaper Publishers Association, which represents more than 200 black-owned newspapers around the country.
Cosby, 77, hasn’t given any extensive comments since the allegations first surfaced. It’s also not known how the accusations have affected Camille Cosby, the actor’s wife of more than five decades, or the rest of the comedian’s family.
Green’s suit, filed in Massachusetts federal court, claims that Cosby, through lawyers and publicists, has “continued his pattern of branding” Green a liar since she first publicly denounced him in 2005.
“He called me a wrecking ball, but he never sued me for defamation,” Green told the New York Daily News. “My statements against him were actionable if they were false. He didn’t open that can of worms because my statements were true.”
Green’s lawsuit and an earlier demand by famed attorney Gloria Allred that Cosby put up $100 million for his accusers, have only served to raise the ire of skeptics of the accusers, who have claimed all along: that many of the women may just be seeking a payday.
In 2011, Forbes Magazine placed Cosby’s net worth at $450 million. Since the allegations initially resurfaced in October, though, Cosby has lost a new television series with NBC, a Netflix special and has been forced to cancel several sold-out concert appearances.
But Cosby’s supporters say they aren’t deterred by the scandal.
“They want his money and [Wednesday’s] lawsuit and those others asking for $100 million prove that,” said Lisa Hardy of Northwest, who said she’s met Cosby several times at Ben’s Chili Bowl in D.C., one of the superstar’s favorite restaurants.
Hardy’s comments were similar to the sentiments expressed by many others around the District who have stood by Cosby.
Actress and talk show host Whoopi Goldberg, singer Jill Scott and actor Ben Vereen have been among the more high-profile celebrities to voice support for the embattled “Fat Albert” creator, who became the first African-American to star in a television series when he portrayed agent Alexander Scott on NBC’s “I Spy” in the late 1960s.
“Did you read the Rolling Stone rape story? Then you know that sometimes things can be made up,” said Rolando Williams, 22, of Northwest. “It’s like they are saying, ‘Let’s bring another black man down.’ And, Cosby is about positive things. I’m too young to remember ‘The Cosby Show,’ but my mom and my dad said there’s never been a more positive black man on television than Bill Cosby.”