10:41pm PT by THR staff
27 Bill Cosby Accusers Speak Out in Emotional 'Dateline' Special
Twenty-seven women who accused Bill Cosby of drugging and sexually assaulting them spoke out on NBC's Dateline in a joint hourlong interview, conducted by NBC News national correspondent Kate Snow, that aired Friday night.
The women sat down with Snow to give their testimonies of being sexually assaulted, coincidentally on the same day that Cosby was scheduled to be deposed for the lawsuit from Judy Huth, who claims she was assaulted in 1974. The women tearfully exclaimed that coming together and realizing that they were not alone has been the biggest relief so far.
"I’m not afraid anymore," said Chelan Lasha. "It’s been a pleasure meeting everyone and it’s been a pleasure knowing that I’m not alone anymore."
Although each of the women shared separate experiences with Cosby, most of the women agreed that they were seduced by him from an invitation to audition or practice scripts, which led to being immediately drugged by Cosby and later raped. Most of the woman found that Cosby would use similar language with each of them, calling them the "it girl" or persuading each of them to "let loose" during auditions.
Among the women who sat down with Snow was supermodel Beverly Johnson who decided to come forward about her experience because of her "conscience and principles." Barbara Bowman, a theater arts major who was introduced to Cosby through her agent, recalled disturbing experiences with Cosby that made her too nervous to tell her agent.
"Every time I would flinch he would say, 'no no no you’ve got to relax,' " said Bowman. "Then he started to go lower into my breast area. I thought this was very odd, but I was nervous and afraid."
Although most of the women claimed that they woke up feeling drugged with a faded memory of what happened after accepting a drink from Cosby, none of the women decided to report the incidents after they occurred. Many of the women felt that Cosby's star power would triumph over their accusations and one woman even chose to blame herself before blaming the actor.
"When I woke up the next morning, I apologized for passing out," said Janis Baker. "Knowing what I know now, it makes my skin crawl."
Most of the women would raise their hands in unison when asked if they felt Cosby's behavior was an open secret within Hollywood. When asked why people should believe their story, the women agreed that it's not for money or power, but to simply have her voice be heard.
"It's insane that people actually think that any of us would've come together to bring down some celebrity whose celebrity has already started to fade long before we came forward," said Eden Tirl. "We came forward to say we're using our voices to say this isn't okay."
"This body of women are moving the needle, not much, but we’re still moving it and that's the power we all feel," said Johnson.
The Dateline special, The Cosby Accusers Speak, follows an A&E special featuring more than a dozen of Cosby's alleged victims recalling what they say happened with him in individual interviews, as well as a New York magazine cover story for which 35 of Cosby's accusers were photographed together.
Listen to each of the women share their testimonials here.