This week’s cover of New York magazine profiled 35 women who came forward to tell their stories about interacting with Bill Cosby. Dozens alleged that he drugged and raped them at various points in time, ranging from the 1960s to the 1990s. In response, singer-songwriter Janis Ian has come forward to tell her own story about meeting Cosby.
According to a Facebook post Ian wrote, she was invited to perform her 1966 hit “Society’s Child” on The Smothers Brothers Hour and was accompanied by a chaperone because she was just 16 years old. Before the taping, she says she was so exhausted she fell asleep in her female chaperone’s lap.
After the show, Ian says her manager asked her, “What happened at the Smothers Brothers show?!” Her manager said no one was willing to have her on their show. “[I] was told that Cosby, seeing me asleep in the chaperone’s lap, had made it his business to ‘warn’ other shows that I wasn’t ‘suitable family entertainment,’ was probably a lesbian, and shouldn’t be on television,” Ian wrote. Despite the attempted “ban” she later performed on Johnny Carson’s show.
“There’s a lot to bother a sensible person about this,” Ian continued. “The years these women were ignored. The years they were derided. That the story finally really ‘broke’ because a male comedian named Hannibal Buress kept bringing it up, kept calling Cosby a ‘rapist.’ Not because woman after woman after woman went to the police, to the press, to anyone who’d listen, with horribly similar stories.”
Read Ian’s full account on her Facebook page, and here’s a video of her performing on The Smothers Brothers.