Lili Bernard Statement Regarding Bill Cosby, Press Conference 1 May 2015, Friars Club, NYC, NY
(read after Gloria Allred’s statement below)
My name is Lili Bernard. I was born in Cuba and immigrated to the United States with my family when I was around three years old. I have a Bachelor of Arts degree from City University of New York, and a Master in Fine Arts from Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles. I am a wife and a mother of six children, ages 6 to 17.
In the early 1990’s, during the last season of The Cosby Show, I guest-starred as the zany and very pregnant Mrs. Minifield.
In preparation for my appearance on The Cosby Show, Bill Cosby mentored me. He told me, “You’re one of my kids, Bernard.” He praised me, spoke favorably about my Ivy League education, my athleticism, my being able to speak multiple languages and my skills in acting and painting.
After he had won my complete trust and adoration he drugged me and raped me.
The last contact I had with Bill Cosby was at The Cosby Show studios on my birthday in 1992. His last words to me were, “As far as I’m concerned, Bernard, you’re dead. Do you hear me? You’re dead, Bernard. You don’t exist. I never wanna see your face again. Now get the hell out of here!” I interpreted that as a death threat and feared for my life. I told my talent agents about what I had endured with Bill Cosby. I also told my family, several friends and my pastor.
A few months after my last contact with Bill Cosby, I became highly suicidal. I sought help and was hospitalized. When I was discharged from the hospital in the summer of 1992, I was assigned to a trauma therapist who counseled me intensively – initially five days a week. The focus of the therapy was what Bill Cosby did to me.
I still suffer panic attacks and night terrors as a result of what Mr. Cosby did to me.
I am coming forward to show my six year old daughter to stand in truth, and to say that I have survived Bill Cosby’s drugging and raping me. I stand here to take back my power and to confront the fear that has paralyzed me for so many years.
I would like to thank God, my family and friends, my art collectors Jerry and Tiffany Blackwell for sponsoring my travel, and the detectives in Atlantic City, New Jersey – my progressive home state that has no statute of limitation for rape prosecution. They provided a safe and nurturing environment during the more than five hours that we were with them yesterday. Finally, I want to thank my attorney Gloria Allred for her generosity, compassion and conviction.
Gloria Allred Statement Regarding Bill Cosby, Press Conference 1 May 2015, Friars Club, NYC, NY
Tomorrow, Bill Cosby, who has been accused by more than 40 women of drugging and sexually assaulting them, will perform his “Far From Finished Tour” in Atlanta, Georgia. He is performing despite the fact that more than 40 women have publicly accused him of drugging and sexually assaulting them.
Perhaps he thought that he could go on with this show because no more women would dare to speak out against him. If that is what he thought, he was wrong.
Today I am here with 2 brave women who have never previously spoken out in public about their allegations that Mr. Cosby victimized them. One is a writer, Sammie Mays. The other alleged victim is Lili Bernard. Ms. Bernard is an actress who did a guest appearance as a main character in an episode in the last season of the Cosby Show. She alleges that Mr. Cosby drugged and raped here when he was mentoring her in preparation for her appearance in a principal role on The Cosby Show. She also alleges that when she told him that she planned to report his misconduct to the police that he told her that nobody would believe her and that he threatened her with serious consequences if she reported to law enforcement.
As a result, Lili suffered in silence, and that silence has had serious emotional and physical consequences for her, as a result of her feeling forced to bury the secret of what she alleges he inflicted on her.
Yesterday, however, Lili broke her silence. She and I went to the police in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Lili and I spent over 5 hours at the police station. She was interviewed and questioned extensively by two detectives, She answered every question posed to her in great detail and she also provided what she believes is important evidence to support her allegations. In order to protect the integrity of this investigation we will not be able to explain today the specifics of what Lili alleged that Mr. Cosby did to her because if Mr. Cosby is prosecuted then Lili will be a key witness and it is important t protect her testimony.
Unlike most other states, New Jersey has no statute of limitations for rape, which means that law enforcement is not prevented from prosecuting a case because of an arbitrary time period set by law.
Of course a prosecutor must still decide that there is sufficient evidence to prove a case beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law, but, at least, rape allegations are not barred from being considered because of the statute of limitations.
Lili is very glad that she made her report yesterday and she wants other women to know that if they allege and have evidence that they were victimized by Mr. Cosby in New Jersey, that they should also report their allegations to the police there.
Women need to break out of their fear and report, so that predators can be held accountable. Lili has shown tremendous courage in making her report, and we hope others will follow her example as ell.
Finally, tomorrow, May 2, 2015, protestors have reported that they plan to protest inside and outside the theater in Atlanta, Georgia where Cosby will be performing. The protestors are supporting the more than 40 women who have come forward with allegations that Bill Cosby victimized them.
I have been invited by one of the protest organizers to join the protest tomorrow to support them. I have decided I will join the protest and will speak out against Cosby in Atlanta, as I also did in Denver at the protest against Cosby there. Lili will also join me in the Atlanta protest.
We are very proud of both Ms. Mays and Ms. Bernard. They are very courageous to speak out against Mr. Cosby, and are doing so because they believe that predators should be accountable, and they hope that the public will take what they allege into account when they decide if they should buy tickets to Mr. Cosby’s show. If members of the public do choose to attend, many victims will feel that they are therefore turning their back on so many women who have come forward with their accusations.
I look forward to continuing our battle in Atlanta tomorrow against Bill Cosby and making sure that those who hurt women will not be able to do so without being held accountable either in a court of law or in the court of public opinion for their acts of violence against them.
Gloria Allred, Attorney at Law, Representing Lili Bernard and Sammie Mays, May 1, 2015