Rosie O’Donnell reveals Bill Cosby sexual harassment story: 'He was guilty from a long time ago'

George Back
Producer, Yahoo Entertainment

Rosie O’Donnell was a guest on Sunday’s Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen when she shared a disturbing story about comedian Bill Cosby. According to O’Donnell, Cosby sexually harassed an unnamed staff member. Cosby is denying the allegation.

O’Donnell hosted her own talk show, The Rosie O’Donnell Show, from 1996 to 2002. During that time Cosby made seven guest appearances, but on this occasion, he was pretending to be a “mystery guest.” 

A producer prepped Cosby just prior to going on stage, explaining, “[Rosie O’Donnell]'s not going to know it's you.’” O’Donnell alleged that Cosby told the producer, “All [O’Donnell] has to do is put her hand right here’ — and he put his hand near his penis — ‘and she'll know it's me.’”

O’Donnell claims the staff member was so upset over the lewd comment that she began crying and left. She went on to say, “I was one of those people who knew he was guilty from a long time ago and was not surprised by all of his — the charges against him.”

In the time since this alleged incident, Cosby has been accused of sexual assault by at least 60 women. In 2018 he was convicted on three counts of sexual assault and sentenced to three to 10 years in a Pennsylvania prison.

O’Donnell also revealed that she wanted to share the story during her time on The View, but was denied. “On The View they would not discuss it every time I tried to bring it up,” recalled O’Donnell, “it became a little fight.”

A spokesperson for Cosby hit back at O’Donnell’s claim on Monday, asking why she shared the story now.

The Rosie O’Donnell Show first episode aired in 1996 and the show ended in 2002 but now she waits (24) years later to accuse Mr. Cosby of making lewd comments to a female producer,” Andrew Wyatt told Yahoo Entertainment in a 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 and their new projects that are not doing well. Remember, on March 23, 2020, Ms. O’Donnell tried reviving The Rosie O’Donnell Show for one night only and her efforts were catastrophic.”

O’Donnell revived her talk show for one night amid the coronavirus pandemic to raise money for The Actors Fund, an organization that helps people in need in the performing arts and entertainment business. The evening raised more than $600,000.

“Perhaps, if the media did a thorough investigation of Mr. Cosby’s accusers as they have done of Tara Reade (VP Joe Biden’s accuser) — Mr. Cosby would not be in prison today,” Wyatt continued.

Editor’s note: This story was originally published on May 3, 2020, at 10:46 p.m. ET and has been updated to note Cosby’s statement.

Watch What Happens With Andy Cohen airs Sunday-Thursday at 11 p.m. on Bravo.

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