I finished reading an excellent book called Chasing Cosby, and sent an interview request to the author, the talented Nicole Weisensee Egan. Below is my chat with her where we discuss the dark side of beloved comedian Bill Cosby.
Thank you, Nicole, for talking with ForenSeek!
Who are you? Tell us a bit about yourself!
I am a longtime investigative journalist turned author. CHASING COSBY was my first book and came out in April 2019. I coauthored my second book, VICTIM F, with the subjects of the book. It just came out on June 8.
How did you become interested in the Cosby story?
My boss assigned it to me on January 20, 2005 after a local TV station reported that Cosby had been accused of drugging and sexually assaulting a woman at his home just outside Philadelphia.
For people from our generations, Cosby was a big hero at one point; I remember watching “The Cosby Show” with my family in rural Finland in the 90s. But believe it or not, there are people out there who may not know who Bill Cosby is. So, in your words: who is Bill Cosby?
He’s a famous comedian whose portrayal of Dr. Cliff Huxtable on The Cosby Show earned him the moniker “America’s Dad.”
Despite being celebrated for years for the philanthropic work he has done, a darker side of Cosby began to emerge at some point. What is this dark side?
Cosby is accused of drugging and sexually assaulting more than 60 women.
What was Cosby’s “modus operandi” in his criminal acts?
He would approach an agent for a young woman, offer to mentor them, groom them and their families then, once he gained their trust, drug and sexually assault the woman in an environment he controlled.
He was pretty much protected by his Hollywood/entertainment community. For example, your book talks about how Hugh Hefner was his close friend. Can you tell us a bit about this aspect of the case?
What Cosby was doing to women was well-known in Hollywood for decades. Just last year comedians Joe Rogan and Bill Maher talked about that on Rogan’s podcast and how they themselves had known for decades he was doing this. There are many other examples as well.
Tell us about your book on the case, the excellent Chasing Cosby!
The book is a big-picture look at the case against Cosby starting back in 2005 when Andrea Constand first reported what he did to her to policeand tries to answer questions like – why did this scandal take hold in 2014 but not in 2005? How can someone who does so much good be doing so much evil at the same time? Why do we, as a society, have such an inherent distrust of sexual assault claims? It also examines all of the enablers Cosby had – from his own employees to law enforcement to his agents to the media.
How long did it take to research and write it?
By the time I started writing this book I’d been working on the case for 13 years (though I didn’t do much on it from November 2006, when Andrea Constand settled her lawsuit with Cosby, until October 2014, when Hannibal Buress’ video went viral and then I had two months to write it.
Are there any new “revelations” about the case in Chasing Cosby? If so, how did you manage to dig them up?
Yes there are. I tracked down three of the 12 original Jane Does who came forward in 2005 to support Andrea and agreed to be witnesses in her civil suit against Cosby who had never revealed their identities publicly before and they did so in the book. I’d written them letters asking if they would speak with me while I was working on my book proposal then got to know them over the course of several weeks until they felt comfortable agreeing to share their story for the first time in my book. Another Cosby survivor, Stacey Pinkerton, told her story publicly for the first time in my book. I also had exclusive interviews with the jury foreperson for the second trial and another jury member and took the reader inside the jury room. And there is a lot of analysis and research woven in as well. My end notes, which cite sources for each chapter, has a wealth of information as well and is almost a book within a book. I also raise the question of whether anyone could have died after being drugged by Cosby since it is extremely dangerous to drug someone without their knowledge or consent. You don’t know if they are allergic to the drug or it could interact with something else in their system. In addition, some of the date-rape rugs like GHB make you throw up so you could choke on that if it happens when you’re passed out. And some of Cosby’s victims drove after he drugged them and aren’t sure how they even made it home so it’s also possible someone could have gotten in a car wreck afterward.
Tell us about the Chasing Cosby podcast!
It’s based on my book and has interviews with 16 of the survivors. It has information the book doesn’t have and vice versa so they go together really well.
What are you working on at the moment?
My second book, which I coauthored with the subjects of the book, came out in June. It’s called VICTIM F: From Crime Victims to Suspects to Survivors and is an equally outrageous case.
Where can people keep up with you?
My website: www.nicoleweisenseeegan.com
And, finally, my regular questions.
Your top 3 albums?
Eddie and the Cruisers soundtrack; and Bruce Springsteen’s “The River” and “Born to Run”.
Your top 3 films?
Eddie and the Cruisers; Dirty Dancing and The Conjuring
Your top 3 books?
The Stand by Stephen King; One True Thing by Anna Quindlen; The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls