Cosby ruled television like a king in the 1980s and ’90s playing the lovable head of the Huxtable family.
“The Cosby Show” was pivotal in portraying African Americans as well-educated, upscale Americans and cemented Cosby’s sterling reputation. But it was during this time that many of the alleged assaults took place.
NBC not only had a huge stake in the program monetarily but also from an image standpoint. Cosby was a national role model.
Barbara Bowman, an aspiring actress, was the first of his alleged victims to call out all of the “enablers” that surrounded Cosby and allowed, and even facilitated, his alleged attacks.
Cosby took Bowman under his wing as a protege in 1985 only to be allegedly drugged and raped over a two-year period.
Actress Michelle Hurd, who worked as a “Cosby Show” stand-in, said the comedian touched her and others inappropriately on the set constantly and lured one of her co-workers to his house. The co-worker was allegedly drugged and raped.
Carla Ferrigno, then an actress and Playboy Bunny, also believes she was introduced to Cosby by one of his pals, who conveniently disappeared leaving her alone in his house with him. He allegedly assaulted her as well.
But the most damning witness to come forward is Frank Scotti, a former employee of NBC Entertainment, who acknowledged in an interview with The New York Daily News, that he was a “fixer” and bagman for Cosby.
Scotti, who is now 90, said Cosby used him as a conduit to pay-off women that he had liaisons with. He said he also “routinely” escorted women to Cosby’s dressing room.
So far, Scotti’s exact job duties at NBC are unclear, although he was supposedly one of “hundreds of people” hired by the network to assist the stars of its various shows, according to Newsday.
“The Cosby Show,” was filmed at Kaufman Astoria Studios in Queens, while NBC maintains its headquarters and other studios at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York City. Some reports, however, say Cosby’s show taped in Brooklyn.
The Cosby Show was produced by Carsey-Werner productions and only aired by NBC, so where the line is drawn on accountability is blurred. But Scotti was clearly an NBC employee.
NBC also has studios in Burbank, Calif, where they “Tonight Show” was taped back when Johnny Carson was the host. Jimmy Fallon moved the show to New York City when he succeeded Jay Leno.
In another telling incident that raises red flags about the network, actress Louisa Moritz said Cosby sexually assaulted her in the “Tonight Show’s” green room, where celebrities lounge before going on the air.
She said Cosby “took out his penis, which was now in line with my face, and pressed up against it. He took his hands and put them on the back of my head and forced” her to perform oral sex.
Cosby, according to several of the alleged victims, also repeatedly dangled the prospect of jobs on his hit NBC show to lure women into compromising positions.
Although the statute of limitations has expired criminally on the alleged assaults, the network could still be on the hook for millions of dollars in civil damages.
In any event, NBC clearly has some explaining to do, not only about Cosby, but also whether it turned a blind eye to other incidents involving other stars. But so far reps for NBC Entertainment have been unavailable for comment.
In a related incident, David Letterman was caught up in a sex scandal at CBS when he admitted he had sex in his CBS office with members of his staff. The sex was consensual.