Kathie Lee Gifford has defended comedian Bill Cosby in the past, but on Tuesday she revealed the comedian once tried to kiss her.
“I along with so many Americans and people around the world don’t want these [accusations] to be true,” Gifford said while co-hosting NBC’s “Today.” “I will admit towards the end of the tour, the last time I saw him, he did try to kiss me.”
Gifford claimed the unwanted sexual advance occurred in the late-1970s, while she was opening for the comedian on tour. She said Cosby had shown both her and her backup dancers “great kindness and generosity,” but then, when the tour was winding down, he made a pass at her.
“I said, ‘No.’ I said, ‘Bill, we’re friends,” Gifford continued. “He said, ‘OK, goodnight.” I said, ‘Goodnight.’ I went into my room and he went into his room.'”
More than 20 women have come forward in recent months to accuse the TV legend of raping, sexually assaulting or drugging them. Several of those women, including Judy Huth and Linda Joy Traitz, allege the comedian assaulted them in the 1970s.
In the wake of these mounting claims, re-runs of “The Cosby Show” have been pulled from the airwaves and several of his upcoming tour dates have been canceled. NBC killed his comedy project and Netflix pulled a stand-up special meant to premiere on Thanksgiving.
Cosby had mostly stayed quiet while the accusations mounted, but he finally broke his silence in a recent New York Post interview. There the comedian said he expected “the black media to uphold the standards of excellence in journalism” by approaching the story with a “neutral mind.”
On Monday, however, Cosby’s lawyer John P. Schmitt issued a statement criticizing Stacy Brown, the freelance reporter who had conducted the interview. The statement said Brown had “failed to adhere to the most basic standards of his profession.”