Maria Puente, USA TODAY
Published 3:22 p.m. ET May 4, 2020 | Updated 6:13 p.m. ET May 4, 2020
Convicted sex offender Bill Cosby is still being accused of sexual misconduct nearly two years after he was imprisoned for sexual assault. This time, Rosie O’Donnell is leveling the charges.
O’Donnell, interviewed Sunday by Andy Cohen on Bravo’s “Watch What Happens Live,” said she was “not surprised” by the deluge of accusations against Cosby that began in the fall of 2014, because he had behaved crudely toward a female producer on her syndicated talk show, which aired from 1996-2002.
But O’Donnell said she was later prevented from bringing it up on ABC’s “The View,” even as Cosby was being accused by more than 60 women of drugging and/or raping them in encounters dating to the mid-1960s.
Cosby spokesman Andrew Wyatt said in a statement to USA TODAY that O’Donnell’s raising of the “false” allegation nearly two decades after her show went off the air is another attempt by a celebrity to call attention to herself for career reasons.
“The multi-million dollar question is: Why now?” Wyatt said.
Cosby, 82, was tried twice on charges of drugging and sexually assaulting a woman at his home outside Philadelphia in 2004, and was convicted in April 2018. He was sentenced in September 2018 to a three-to-10 year sentence in a Pennsylvania state prison, where he now resides.
On his show, Cohen asked O’Donnell, 58, whether she had ever heard “rumblings” about Cosby’s sexual misconduct.
“I’m going to tell you a story of what happened to a staff member on our show,” O’Donnell said. Cosby was booked as a “mystery guest” on “The Rosie O’Donnell Show,” she said, without specifying a date or identifying the producer, except to describe her as “very tall” and a “very great producer.”
“So, in the green room, the producer goes in and she’s talking and saying to Bill Cosby, ‘You know, (O’Donnell) not going to know that it’s you.’ And he said, ‘All she has to do is put her hand right here.’ And he put his hand near his penis. ‘And she’ll know it’s me.’”
She said the producer began crying and left the room. Another producer, an African American man, went into the room and had a “big discussion” with Cosby about what is appropriate and what is not, O’Donnell said. She wasn’t told of the encounter until after the episode aired, she said.
“So I was one of the people who was not surprised about the charges against him,” she said. “But on ‘The View,’ they would not discuss it. Every time I tried to bring it up, it became a little fight.”
O’Donnell was a panelist on “The View” from 2006 to 2007 and again from 2014 to 2015, when the allegations against Cosby were first piling up, but before he was arrested, charged and convicted.
Lauri Hogan, a spokeswoman for ABC, declined to comment to USA TODAY.
“The show ended in 2002 but now she waits years later to accuse Mr. Cosby of making lewd comments to a female producer,” Wyatt said in his statement. “This is just another attempt for a well-known celebrity like Rosie O’Donnell and many others to create false allegations about Mr. Cosby, in order to gain attention for themselves.”
Cosby, who has appealed his conviction, is seeking early release due to his age and medical conditions that he says make him vulnerable to the coronavirus pandemic inside state and federal prisons.
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