The heat surrounding allegations of sexual assaults by Bill Cosby has intensified as a woman who claims she was raped by the comedian in 1969 when she visited him on the set of "The Bill Cosby Show" spoke out Monday in a CNN interview.
"He's a serial rapist," former actress, music industry publicist and journalist Joan Tarshis told CNN's Don Lemon, claiming that Cosby raped her twice when she was 19 years old. The television interview came after Tarshis wrote an essay for Hollywood Elsewhere about the alleged encounter with Cosby.
She said that she did not tell police or family members about the assault at the time: "Who would believe me? Bill Cosby, the all-American dad, the all-American husband, Mr. Jell-O, that everybody loved. Who would believe me? They would probably think I was out to get something."
However, Lemon did not point out during the interview that Cosby in 1969 was playing a high school gym teacher who was also a bachelor on "The Bill Cosby Show," his first starring role on a TV series after his groundbreaking stint on the espionage drama "I Spy." Also, he did not appear in Jell-O ads until 1974, five years after the alleged assault.
Tarshis said that she was a 19-year-old aspiring actress when she visited the set of Cosby's show a few times. She said he took a liking to her, and one point invited her back to his bungalow.
"He made me a drink and very shortly after that I passed out," she said in the TV interview. I woke up and came to, very groggily and he was removing my underwear."
She said when she felt that Cosby was going to force himself on her, she lied, saying she had an infection. "But he was more clever, and made me have oral sex with him, which was just horrible."
Tarshis' account comes on the heels of an allegation by another woman who wrote a first-person account in the Washington Post last week saying that the 77-year-old entertainer had drugged and raped her in 1985 when she was an aspiring 17-year-old actress.
A number of women have alleged that Cosby sexually assaulted them around the time of his hit sitcom, "The Cosby Show" in the mid-1980s. Cosby has repeatedly denied the accusations.
His attorney on Sunday released a statement saying the allegations have already been discredited, and that the performer "does not intend to dignify these allegations with any comment."
Cosby and his wife Camille were asked about the accusations during an interview with National Public Radio's Scott Simon that was broadcast last weekend. Cosby responded by silently shaking his head.
The entertainer has a sitcom in development at NBC. Executives there have refused to comment on the controversy or what effect it might have on the proposed series.