Three years earlier than a number of actresses would accuse Ben Vereen of sexual harassment, the Broadway icon was one of many uncommon voices supporting Invoice Cosby.
The Tony winner rushed to Cosby’s protection in a crimson carpet interview with “Leisure Tonight” within the weeks after rape allegations in opposition to the comic first exploded in late 2014.
“I really like the person. I assist you, Invoice. We’re praying for you,” Vereen stated of Cosby on the New York premiere of Chris Rock’s comedy flick “Prime 5.”
“Aren’t there extra necessary issues to speak about on this world?” Vereen requested.
“I believe the vast majority of persons are praying for him,” he stated.
Cosby publicly thanked Vereen for his assist.
“I heard you, Ben Vereen,” Cosby wrote on Fb. “Thanks for talking with nice readability.”
Cosby has been accused by greater than 50 girls of sexual misconduct starting from undesirable touching to drug-induced rape.
He has denied the allegations and is going through a retrial later this 12 months on costs he drugged and assaulted a lady inside his suburban Philadelphia mansion in 2004.
Vereen, 71, is accused of sexually harassing and coercing 4 girls throughout a 2015 manufacturing of “Hair” at a neighborhood theater outdoors Tampa.
Vereen directed the play on the Venice Theatre and subjected 4 girls within the forged to undesirable touching, the ladies stated.
Ladies who’ve accused Invoice Cosby of sexual assault
The ladies got here ahead with their tales to the Every day Information and OnStage Weblog, with two of the ladies claiming Vereen sexually assaulted them in a scorching tub.
One of many girls, who requested to be recognized by solely her first title, Kim, stated she vividly remembered Vereen reacting to the continuing headlines about Cosby that continued late into 2015.
She recalled sitting with Vereen, watching a TV information report about Cosby, when Vereen stated, “That would occur to anybody.”
Kim stated by that time, Vereen had already sexually harassed a number of girls within the forged.
“So he is aware of to a sure level what he does is crossing a line. That it isn’t OK,” Kim informed The Information.
Kim and the opposite actress, Kaitlyn Terpstra, informed The Information that Vereen lured them to his Florida rental residence on separate events in September 2015 below the guise of mentorship and pressed his erect penis into their legs with out warning.
One other girl within the forged stated Vereen kissed her on the lips with out asking and despatched her a sexually suggestive textual content.
Yet one more stated Vereen wrapped his arms round her throughout an ungainly assembly at his home, led her to a sofa and stated, “Give your self to me.”
In an announcement to The Information, Vereen didn’t deny the allegations.
“I want to apologize on to the feminine forged members of the musical Hair for my inappropriate conduct once I directed the manufacturing in 2015,” he stated.
“Whereas it was my intention to create an atmosphere that replicated the themes of that musical throughout the rehearsal course of, I’ve since come to grasp that it’s my conduct, not my intentions, that are related right here. So I’m not going to make any excuses as a result of the one factor that issues right here is acknowledging and apologizing for the consequences of my conduct on the lives of those girls,” he stated.
“Going ahead, my having come to phrases with my previous conduct will inform all my future interactions not solely with girls, however with all people. I hope these girls will discover it of their hearts to simply accept my honest apology and forgive me,” his assertion learn.