Video (credit: AJC.com) of complete statements by Gloria Allred and Lili Bernard, 2 May 2015 (scroll down for text)
Lili Bernard Statement Regarding Bill Cosby, Press Conference 2 May 2015, Cobb, Atlanta, GA
(read after Gloria Allred’s statement below)
My name is Lili Bernard. I’m Cuban born. My family and I immigrated to this country when I was about three years old. I was raised primarily in New Jersey and attended New Jersey public schools from kindergarten through tenth grade, and then I graduated from the American School in Japan in high school. I attended Cornell University. I have a Bachelor of Arts degree from City University of New York, and I have a Masters in Fine Arts from Otis College of Art and Design.
I am a wife, a mother of six, a visual artist, an actor and a community organizer. I played the role of Mrs. Minified who was a main character in the last season, in an episode of The Cosby Show, and it came with great suffering. We have the statements that we made yesterday, that tell you a little bit more about that, if you would like copies — and today I’m going to read the statement that I prepared for this demonstration which is entirely different than the statement I read yesterday.
Rapists lie. They frighten and often threaten their victims to silence. They rely upon that silence in order to continue their crimes without accountability. It took me twenty-three years to shed the fear that resulted from Bill Cosby drugging me, raping me and threatening me. The process of taking back my power has been long and painful, but worthwhile. It has also been educational. I have learned that the devaluation of women and the dismissal of our voices are epidemic.
In my healing, from the trauma that I endured at the hands of Bill Cosby, I have come to realize that if I were to remain silent to the public; I would be enabling Bill Cosby’s criminal lifestyle. I would be enabling his duping of his adoring fans. I would be enabling the revictimization of the courageous women who have stepped forward and proclaimed that they survived being drugged and sexually assaulted by Bill Cosby. If I were to remain silent to the public; I would be enabling the silencing of others who have been raped or will be raped and find themselves paralyzed in fear. I would be enabling the culture of rape — a culture which obstructs “the arc of the moral universe” as it strains to bend towards justice.
Martin Luther King Jr. reminds us, however, to not be despaired. He said that we must, “carve a tunnel of hope through the dark mountain of disappointment.” And so I stand here today, speaking truth, truth to power, in order to serve as an example of strength and resilience for my six year old daughter and my five sons — to encourage all victims of sexual assault, female and male, to release the silence and take back your power. Seek help immediately. Report the injustice committed against you. In speaking out, you will find support and peace. You will be renewed.
I 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. They provided a safe and nurturing environment during the more than five hours that they interviewed me. There are no statute of limitations in New Jersey for rape prosecution. Finally, I want to thank my attorney Gloria Allred for her generosity, compassion and conviction.
(To the protesters behind her) And all the Warrior Women! I love you!
(Protesters shout, “We love you, Lili!”)
Hallelujah! I said I wasn’t going to cry.
Gloria Allred Statement Regarding Bill Cosby, Read at Press Conference 2 May 2015, Atlanta GA
I’m Attorney Gloria Allred, and I represent Lili Bernard. Lili had a principal role on the last season of The Bill [sic] Cosby Show, and she will explain a bit more about that, and we did a news conference in New York yesterday and we’re here today. And so I’ll be making a statement and then Lili will make a statement and then I’m happy to answer questions.
I’ve come to the protest against Bill Cosby in Atlanta today, to support those who are protesting Bill Cosby’s “Far From Finished” concert tour, and to deliver a message to Bill Cosby.
Mr. Cosby, what you did behind closed doors to women is now viewed in the light of day. You preyed on women and you victimized them. You used your television-created fictional sitcom image to gain the trust of women, and then you targeted them and you preyed upon them. You betrayed their trust, You deceived them and you victimized them. You hurt them and your family and your legacy.
You will be forever remembered as the sexual predator that you are, rather than the lovable father-figure, Dr. Huxtable, whom you portrayed. You may escape the justice system, but you have brought shame upon yourself and your legacy. You may never go to an actual prison, but you will forever be known as the man who was accused of drugging and sexually assaulting more women than anyone else in the history of our nation.
Women are now empowered and they will never be silent again.
(To the protesters standing behind her) Is that right?
(Protesters answer in unison: Yes!)
OK, and so now I would like to present Lili Bernard.