Lisa Bonet Says She Sensed a “Sinister” Energy From Bill Cosby

Denise Huxtable speaks out.

2018 Vanity Fair Oscar Party Hosted By Radhika Jones - Arrivals
Photo by J. Merritt/Getty Images

Lisa Bonet, the actress, singer, and artist who played strong-willed Denise Huxtable for seven years on The Cosby Show, is speaking out about what she remembers from her time working with now-disgraced comedian Bill Cosby, who is accused of drugging and raping dozens of women.

“There was no knowledge on my part about [Cosby’s] specific actions, but… There was just energy. And that type of sinister, shadow energy cannot be concealed,” Bonet told Net-A-Porter, adding that there was “always” a darkness around him. By all accounts, Cosby didn’t misbehave on the set of his hit sitcom, and many of its stars have had trouble reconciling their memory of the man with what we now know about him.

Though Bonet did sense that Cosby wasn’t the person he presented himself as, she says, she doesn’t have a scandalous story to tell. “If I had anything more to reveal then it would have happened a long time ago. That’s my nature. The truth will set you free,” she says.

She takes a similarly Zen view of their past disagreements, which were over her actions, not his. Cosby was against Bonet’s posing topless in magazines and taking a racy role in Angel Heart opposite Mickey Rourke. Of those clashes, Bonet now says, “I don’t need to say, ‘I told you so’… I just leave all that to karma and justice and what will be.”

Now happily married to Aquaman star Jason Momoa and living a life of bucolic idyll in SoCal, Bonet is focused on new projects, her family, and charity work. Cosby, meanwhile, is awaiting a retrial after the jury in his case failed to reach a verdict in June, according to Newsweek. Though Cosby has repeatedly denied allegations of wrongdoing, his case helped pave the way for allegations against Harvey Weinstein and so many powerful figures since, and he has virtually no defenders left in the public realm. Justice, indeed.

Related: Laura Dern, Shailene Woodley, and Zoë Kravitz Will Return in Big Little Lies Season 2

Emma Stone, Meryl Streep, Octavia Spencer, and More of Hollywood’s Biggest Stars Demand Equal Pay

Oprah shared with Time magazine that in 1986 when her talk show became syndicated, the female producers were not getting paid enough. “Well, either my producers are going to get raises or I’m going to sit down. I just won’t work. I will not work unless they get paid more money,” she told the executives.

Photograph by Juergen Teller for W Magazine.

At CNN’s “Women in the World” salon, Viola Davis announced that she would no longer “hustle” for her worth, and reminded audiences that actresses of color get paid “a tenth of what a Caucasian woman gets” and “half of what a man is getting paid.”

Photograph by Mario Sorrenti for W Magazine.

When Patricia Arquette won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in 2015, she used her acceptance speech as an opportunity to remind Hollywood that “all women deserve equal pay” in every industry. “It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all, and equal rights for women in the United States of America.”

“I don‘t like the fact that I get paid much less than the boys,” Quantico star Priyanka Chopra told the BBC in 2017. “I don‘t like the fact that the disparity is so massive.”

Photograph by Mario Sorrenti for W Magazine.

Meryl Streep has been a longtime supporter of the Equal Rights Amendment. In 2015, the actress revealed that she is still paid less than her male co-stars. While promoting her Oscar-nominated film The Post, Streep told Gloria Steinem, “Equal means equal. And if it starts at the top, none of these shenanigans would have filtered down and it wouldn’t have been tolerated.”

Michael Thompson

In August 2017, Amy Schumer revealed that she negotiated for more than the initial $11 million offer for her Netflix special, The Leather Special, due to the fact that comedians Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle were offered $20 million each for their own respective specials.

Photograph by Peter Lindbergh for W Magazine.

Jessica Chastain made headlines in January 2018, when it was revealed that she negotiated higher salaries for herself and Octavia Spencer in an upcoming holiday comedy film starring both actresses. Spencer told the story for her, explaining, “She said, ‘Octavia. we’re gonna get you paid on this film… You and I are gonna be tied together. We’re gonna be favored nations, and we’re gonna make the same thing.’ Fast-forward to last week, we’re making five times what we asked for.”

Photograph by Paolo Roversi for W Magazine.

In July of 2017 Emma Stone told Out Magazine that “In my career so far, I’ve needed my male co-stars to take a pay cut so that I may have parity with them. And that’s something they do for me because they feel it’s what’s right and fair.”

Photographs by Juergen Teller; Styled by Edward Enninful

“Here’s the thing, women of color on that spectrum, we make far less than white women. So, if we’re gonna have that conversation about pay equity, we gotta bring the women of color to the table,” Octavia Spencer said to her co-star Jessica Chastain when the two decided to negotiate a salary raise for their upcoming joint project.

Photograph by Mario Sorrenti for W Magazine.

In October 2015, Jennifer Lawrence published an essay on Lenny, titled “Why Do I Make Less Than My Male Co‑Stars?” which tackled her questions about the wage gap in Hollywood.

Photograph by Juergen Teller for W Magazine.

Charlize Theron discovered her The Huntsman: Winter’s War co-star Chris Hemsworth made more money than she did, and negotiated a $10 million increase in salary. “This is a good time for us to bring this to a place of fairness, and girls need to know that being a feminist is a good thing. It doesn’t mean that you hate men. It means equal rights. If you’re doing the same job, you should be compensated and treated in the same way,” she told Elle UK.

Photograph by Alasdair McLellan for W Magazine.

“I knew I was being paid less,” Amy Adams told Vanity Fair about her role in American Hustle.

Photograph by Craig McDean for W Magazine.

In support of the Equal Pay Day initiative, Kerry Washington tweeted, “Equal pay for equal work.”

Photograph by Juergen Teller for W Magazine.

Brie Larson stood up for former E! host Catt Sadler, who quit after discovering she made half the salary of her male colleague Jason Kennedy. “We stand with you,” Larson tweeted. “Equal pay for equal work!”

Photograph by Peter Lindbergh for W Magazine.

When asked by a journalist about pay disparity in Hollywood, Julianne Moore replied, “I think that that’s something that’s not endemic just to show business, but I think that it’s something that we’re all dealing with. That was what the Lilly Ledbetter Act is all about.”

Photograph by Inez and Vinoodh Matadin for W Magazine.

“I think it is right that I am paid the same as my male counterparts,” Emma Watson said in a speech about gender equality at the United Nations as the U.N. Women’s Goodwill Ambassador in 2014.

Photograph by Michael Thompson for W Magazine.

In a 2014 essay titled “Gender Equality Is a Myth!”, Beyoncé wrote that “Equality will be achieved when men and women are granted equal pay and equal respect.”

Photograph by Patrick Demarchelier for W Magazine.