A US news anchor has apologised for telling one of the alleged victims of Bill Cosby that “there are ways” to stop a sexual assault from happening - and claimed that he is a “victim” himself.
CNN broadcaster Don Lemon told Joan Tarshis, who claims Cosby raped her when she was 19, that “there are ways not to perform oral sex if you didn’t want to do it”.
Tarshis, a former actress, music industry publicist and journalist, has claimed she was raped twice by the comedian and actor in 1969.
She has alleged that she initially attempted to ward him off by saying she had an infection that he would catch and pass on to his wife if he had sex with her. He then allegedly made her perform oral sex.
In the interview Lemon, who said he didn’t mean to be “crude”, suggested that Tarshis could have used her teeth as “a weapon” against Cosby.
He said: “You - you know, there are ways not to perform oral sex if you didn’t want to do it.”
To which Tarshis replied: “Oh. Um, I was kind of stoned at the time, and quite honestly, that didn’t even enter my mind. Now I wish it would have”.
Tarshis said that she didn’t go to the police because she didn’t think anyone would believe her.
Reacting to the interview on social media, a number of Twitter users criticised Lemon for his approach.
One user tweeted: “Don Lemon is the very last person on earth to think rape has to involve overwhelming physical force. And someone lets him say things on TV.”
And another sarcastically asked: “Has Don Lemon ever asked someone that's been shot if they tried to duck?”
Speaking live on air yesterday, Lemon said: “As I am a victim myself I would never want suggest that any victim could have prevented a rape.
“If my question to her struck anyone as insensitive I am sorry as that is certainly and was not my intention.”
In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Ms Dickinson, 59, alleged that Cosby had drugged and raped her in 1982, after he invited her to visit him at a hotel in Lake Tahoe, California, where he was performing a stand-up show.
In October, Barbara Bowman claimed that Cosby drugged and raped her when she was a teenager in 1985, when she was then an aspiring actress.
Bowman was one of 13 women called to take to the witness stand in 2006 when Andrea Constand claimed that Cosby had drugged and assaulted her in his Philadelphia mansion in 2004.
The allegations were firmly denied by Cosby’s lawyers. In 2006, he settled the case with Constand. The terms of the settlement remain undisclosed.
Bill Cosby: Career in pictures
Bill Cosby: Career in pictures
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Winner of his first Emmy for 'I Spy' is Bill Cosby being congratulated by his wife Camille held at Americana Hotel, 1966
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Bill Cosby in 'I Spy', 1960s
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Bill Cosby in July 1973 in Perth
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Bill Cosby and Richard Pryor in 'California Suite', 1978
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Bill Cosby and Elmo in Sesame Street, 1989
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Bill Cosby poses for a picture with Florence Griffith-Joyner in June 1989
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Comedian Bill Cosby back in 1992
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A scene from a 1992 episode of 'The Cosby Show'
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US Monica Seles breaks into laughter as she jokes with comedian Bill Cosby during a celebrity match in the stadium at the US Open for the Arthur Ashe AIDS Challenge on 27 August 1995
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Bill Cosby meets Toronto Blue Jays' All-Star Joe Carter after the Stars played the Stripes in the Celebrity All-Star game which preceded workouts for the 67th All-Star Game at Veterans Stadium on 8 July 1996 in Philadephia
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Co-hosts Oprah Winfrey and Bill Cosby joke with each other during the opening of the 2000 Essence Awards 14 April 2000 at Radio City Music Hall in New York City
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Bill Cosby jokes with baseball great Hank Aaron after they both received the Presidential Medal of Freedom Award from U.S. President George W. Bush during a ceremony on 9 July 2002 at the White House in Washington
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Bill Cosby poses backstage after winning the 'Bob Hope Humanitarian Award' during the 55th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards at the Shrine Auditorium on 21 September 2003 in Los Angeles
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'Tonight Show' host Jay Leno and comedian Bill Cosby laugh during a surprise visit by Cosby to sign a Harley-Davidson motorcycle that Leno is using to raise money for the victims of Hurricane Katrina at NBC studios on 9 September 2005 in Burbank, California
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Bill Cosby speaks during a taping of 'Meet the Press' at the NBC studios on 14 October 2007 in Washington
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Bill Cosby at the 12th annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor at the John F. Kennedy Center on 26 October 2009 in Washington
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Bill Cosby speaks at the National Action Network's 20th annual Keepers of the Dream Awards gala in New York on 6 April 2011
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Bill Cosby during the 100th anniversary celebration of the Beverly Hills Hotel & Bungalows supporting the Motion Picture & Television Fund and the American Comedy Fund, 2012
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Bill Cosby speaks onstage at the Thurgood Marshall College Fund 25th Awards Gala on 11 November 2013 in Washington
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Bill Cosby performs at the Treasure Island Hotel & Casino on 26 September 2014 in Las Vegas
At the weekend the actor’s lawyer said that he will not be commenting on the “decade-old discredited” allegations.
“The fact that they are being repeated does not make them true,” read a statement on Cosby’s website.
“Mr Cosby does not intend to dignify these allegations with any comment. He would like to thank all his fans for the outpouring of support and assure them that, at age 77, he is doing his best work.
There will be no further statement from Mr Cosby or any of his representatives.”
Yesterday Cosby also denied allegations that he raped Dickinson. His attorney Marty Singer branded Dickinson’s claims a “complete lie”.
He said: "The only story she [Dickinson] gave 12 years ago in her autobiography, as well as her interviews with the media, was that she refused to sleep with Mr Cosby and he blew her off."Reuse content