Last week, Newsweek interviewed Tamara Green, one of 13 women who accused Bill Cosby of drugging and sexually assaulting them in a civil lawsuit brought by Andrea Constand in 2004, and settled under undisclosed terms in 2006. Now, a second woman is speaking out: Barbara Bowman, a 46-year-old artist who says Cosby took her under his wing in the late ‘80s, when she was a teenager — and repeatedly emotionally and physically abused her.
Both Bowman and Green joined the 2004 lawsuit as witnesses after hearing about it on television; neither had anything to gain financially, as the statute of limitations had expired for both of them.
How did you know Bill Cosby?
I was a 17-year-old model and up-and-coming actress in Denver, Colorado. My agent knew Bill. I was told that he wanted to scout some new talent — if we were lucky, we would be groomed to go to New York and get more solid training so we could move up the ladder, maybe eventually get to audition for the Cosby Show. Bill came to town, and my agent set up a meeting for us. I was told that Bill wanted to get to know me and my acting abilities and skill level, and wanted to know what sort of marketing ability I had. He had me come meet him whenever he was in town to do meet-and-greets, and he’d give me acting lessons. Then, he started flying me around to major cities to events to get accustomed to being around celebrities, and, he said, to see if I was worthy of mentoring.
What was it like having Bill Cosby as your mentor?
It was overwhelming. It was surreal and exciting, but it was also scary. He worked me over emotionally and psychologically. He broke me down and really preyed on my insecurities… I had no father figure in my life, so he zoomed right in on that and tried to make me feel as though he loved me like a father would. I was young, wide-eyed and impressionable, and he would play games with my head, and manipulate me into believing that he cared about me, that I didn’t have anyone who cared as much as he cared, that I needed to trust him, that I had trust issues and that he would help me overcome those, because they would limit me as an actress. He told me I needed to give into him 100 percent, because he was investing in me, he believed in me.
When was the first time you felt uncomfortable around him?
None of the abuse or drugging happened until I was 18… But on our very first meeting together, which occurred in the conference room at a nightclub in Denver, he led me through an acting exercise. First, he told me to go to the bathroom and wet my hair down. Then, he told me to sit in a chair, close my eyes, and act out a monologue as if I was really intoxicated. And he was touching my neck and stroking my hair. I felt absolutely terrified. I was so new to the business and this was my first experience with a celebrity of such power, so I thought, “Wow, maybe this is what you are supposed to do. This is about learning how to be vulnerable in a scene, and if anyone would know best, it would be Bill Cosby.” I didn’t want to disappoint him or for him to think I couldn’t follow directions. So I gave it my all.